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MOCK TEAMS: Dons dump four, Cats' shock axe, Nic Nat back

Our reporters are tipping Bomber Josh Begley and Cat Zach Tuohy to be dropped, with Nic Naitanui to return. All pictures: AFL Photos - AFL,West Coast Eagles,Essendon Bombers,Geelong Cats,Collingwood Magpies,GWS Giants,Western Bulldogs,Brisbane Lions,Richmond Tigers
Our reporters are tipping Bomber Josh Begley and Cat Zach Tuohy to be dropped, with Nic Naitanui to return. All pictures: AFL Photos

THE FINALS are almost upon us and AFL.com.au reporters have gazed into the crystal ball a week ahead of selection.

There are some bold calls, too, with our WA correspondent Travis King dumping three Eagles, and newsbreaker Mitch Cleary chopping a Geelong veteran. 

Big changes at Essendon, as well, with draft guru Callum Twomey swinging the axe, while Ben Collins is tipping some star power to return to Collingwood

Players expected to be fit have been named in their respective positions, and we explain who got in and who missed out.

So who is playing finals? Check it out below.

Thursday, September 5

West Coast v Essendon at Optus Stadium, 6.10pm AWST

WEST COAST

B: Will Schofield, Tom Barrass, Brad Sheppard
HB: Shannon Hurn, Jeremy McGovern, Lewis Jetta 
C: Andrew Gaff, Elliot Yeo, Chris Masten 
HF: Jamie Cripps, Jack Darling, Liam Ryan
F: Willie Rioli, Josh Kennedy, Oscar Allen
Foll: Nic Naitanui, Luke Shuey, Dom Sheed
I/C: Jackson Nelson, Jarrod Cameron, Jack Redden, Tom Hickey

Emerg: Liam Duggan, Jack Petruccelle, Nathan Vardy, Jake Waterman

In: Jarrod Cameron, Nic Naitanui, Will Schofield 
Out: Liam Duggan (omitted), Jack Petruccelle (omitted), Jake Waterman (omitted)

Waterman is the stiffest omission, but a tall has to make way for Naitanui's comeback. Duggan wasn't at his best in his return in round 23 and the Eagles' defence has looked shakier without lockdown expert Will Schofield. Duggan makes way so Jackson Nelson, who shut down Bombers barometer Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti last time the teams met, holds his spot. Petruccelle has exceeded all expectations in his second season but struggled for impact in recent weeks, and Cameron might offer more tackle pressure and goalkicking threat on the big stage. - Travis King

Naitanui would be a massive finals wildcard for the Eagles.

ESSENDON

B: Patrick Ambrose, Cale Hooker, Martin Gleeson
HB: Conor McKenna, Michael Hurley, Adam Saad
C: Darcy Parish, Dyson Heppell, Andrew McGrath
HF: Orazio Fantasia, Shaun McKernan, Jake Stringer
F: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Mitch Brown, Jayden Laverde
Foll: Tom Bellchambers, Dylan Shiel, Zach Merrett
I/C: Mason Redman, Kyle Langford, Aaron Francis, Dylan Clarke

Emerg: Josh Begley, Brayden Ham, Tom Jok, Michael Hartley

In: Orazio Fantasia, Dyson Heppell, Jake Stringer, Cale Hooker
Out: Josh Begley (omitted), Brayden Ham (omitted), Tom Jok (omitted), Michael Hartley (omitted)

It's a simple case for the Bombers, really. They will bring back their big guns who missed last week's clash with Collingwood after being either rested or, in the case of Hooker, ill. Begley makes way for Stringer in the forward line, Fantasia and Heppell are back as midfield options for Jok and Ham, while Hartley is out for Hooker. However, Hartley could come back in the side given the wait-and-see approach the Bombers will take for Michael Hurley and his injured shoulder. - Callum Twomey

Stringer and Fantasia would be huge ins for the Bombers.

Friday, September 6

Geelong v Collingwood at the MCG, 7.50pm AEST

GEELONG

B: Jed Bews, Mark Blicavs, Jack Henry
HB: Mark O'Connor, Harry Taylor, Tom Stewart
C: Mitch Duncan, Cameron Guthrie, Joel Selwood
HF: Luke Dahlhaus, Esava Ratugolea, Gryan Miers
F: Gary Ablett, Tom Hawkins, Gary Rohan
Foll: Rhys Stanley, Patrick Dangerfield, Tim Kelly
I/C: Brandan Parfitt, Quinton Narkle, Jake Kolodjashnij, Tom Atkins

Emerg: Sam Menegola, Zach Tuohy, Zac Smith, Jordan Clark

In: Jake Kolodjashnij, Tom Atkins
Out: Lachie Henderson (omitted), Zach Tuohy (omitted)

Collingwood's dynamic forward line ensures Kolodjashnij will be recalled from a hip injury. Henderson is the most likely to be omitted after five games this year as long as the Cats stick with Stanley as ruck and Blicavs in defence. Tuohy falls out for a traditional forward in Atkins, while Clark's lack of match conditioning after an elbow injury forces him to miss. - Mitch Cleary

Could the Cats axe Tuohy?

COLLINGWOOD

B: Jeremy Howe, Jordan Roughead, John Noble
HB: Brayden Maynard, Matt Scharenberg, Levi Greenwood
C: Tom Phillips, Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom
HF: Will Hoskin-Elliott, Brody Mihocek, Josh Thomas
F: Jamie Elliott, Jordan De Goey, Jaidyn Stephenson
Foll: Brodie Grundy, Jack Crisp, Taylor Adams
I/C: Adam Treloar, Chris Mayne, Callum Brown, Rupert Wills

Emerg: Travis Varcoe, Jack Madgen, James Aish, Tyson Goldsack

In: Steele Sidebottom, Jordan De Goey, Jaidyn Stephenson
Out: Darcy Moore (hamstring), Travis Varcoe (omitted), Jack Madgen (omitted)

Vice-captain Sidebottom and matchwinners De Goey and Stephenson are huge inclusions, and Pies coach Nathan Buckley has declared key defender Moore will also play but I wouldn't take the risk. So Roughead, after a stint forward, returns to defence to take on All Australian key forward Tom Hawkins. Veteran Varcoe is perhaps an unlucky omission. - Ben Collins

De Goey is a certified matchwinner.

Saturday, September 7

Greater Western Sydney v Western Bulldogs at Giants Stadium, 3.20pm AEST

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

B: Heath Shaw, Aidan Corr, Sam Taylor
HB: Nick Haynes, Phil Davis, Zac Williams
C: Josh Kelly, Jacob Hopper, Harry Perryman
HF: Lachie Whitfield, Harry Himmelberg, Toby Greene
F: Jeremy Finlayson, Jeremy Cameron, Brent Daniels   
Foll: Shane Mumford, Tim Taranto, Matt de Boer
I/C: Sam Reid, Adam Tomlinson, Adam Kennedy, Daniel Lloyd

Emerg: Bobby Hill, Isaac Cumming, Lachie Keeffe, Dawson Simpson

In: Nick Haynes, Jacob Hopper, Toby Greene
Out: Bobby Hill (omitted), Lachie Keeffe (omitted), Isaac Cumming (omitted) 

Greene, Hopper and Haynes are automatic inclusions. The Giants' important talls are fit and healthy at either end so there's no spot for Keeffe or Cumming. Daniels gets the nod ahead of Hill because of his hardness and consistency. Stephen Coniglio (knee) and Brett Deledio (calf) will need a GWS win to play again this year. - Adam Curley

The addition of Greene would be a massive boost to the Giants' chances.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: Matthew Suckling, Lewis Young, Hayden Crozier
HB: Jason Johannisen, Zaine Cordy, Easton Wood
C: Ed Richards, Jack Macrae, Lachie Hunter 
HF: Bailey Smith, Josh Schache, Toby McLean
F: Bailey Dale, Aaron Naughton, Sam Lloyd
Foll: Tim English, Marcus Bontempelli, Josh Dunkley
I/C: Taylor Duryea, Patrick Lipinski, Tory Dickson, Will Hayes

Emerg: Rhylee West, Jackson Trengove, Tom Liberatore, Roarke Smith

In: Tory Dickson
Out: Rhylee West (omitted)

West will count himself as unlucky, but Dickson is a no-brainer to return from a minor hamstring complaint. Liberatore is a chance to return from a knee injury but it seems unlikely he'll be ready in time. Hayes might be the odd one out if 'Libba' makes a rapid recovery. - Jourdan Canil

Dickson would be a handy inclusion for the Dogs.

Brisbane v Richmond at the Gabba, 7.25pm AEST

BRISBANE

B: Darcy Gardiner, Marcus Adams, Luke Hodge
HB: Daniel Rich, Harris Andrews, Noah Answerth
C: Hugh McCluggage, Dayne Zorko, Mitch Robinson
HF: Lincoln McCarthy, Dan McStay, Cam Rayner
F: Allen Christensen, Eric Hipwood, Charlie Cameron
Foll: Stefan Martin, Lachie Neale, Jarryd Lyons
I/C: Alex Witherden, Jarrod Berry, Zac Bailey, Oscar McInerney

Emerg: Cedric Cox, Ryan Lester, Rhys Mathieson, Ben Keays

In: Allen Christensen
Out: Cedric Cox (omitted)

A very settled line-up. Christensen missed the final round against Richmond with a hamstring injury but is expected to be available for the qualifying final. His form and forward pressure had been exceptional since being recalled to the senior team post-bye and unfortunately for Cox, it's last man in, first man out. - Michael Whiting

Christensen could return for the Lions.

RICHMOND

B: David Astbury, Dylan Grimes, Nathan Broad
HB: Bachar Houli, Nick Vlastuin, Jayden Short 
C: Brandon Ellis, Dion Prestia, Josh Caddy 
HF: Jason Castagna, Shane Edwards, Kane Lambert
F: Shai Bolton, Tom J. Lynch, Jack Riewoldt
Foll: Ivan Soldo, Trent Cotchin, Dustin Martin
I/C: Daniel Rioli, Jack Graham, Noah Balta, Liam Baker

Emerg: Dan Butler, Jack Ross, Mabior Chol, Kamdyn McIntosh

No changes

Ruckman Toby Nankervis will only play managed minutes in the VFL this weekend if fit after battling groin soreness. With Soldo in good form, it's much more likely for Nankervis to be given a second week in the VFL rather than risk breaking down in a qualifying final. A strong round 23 performance the same week as a VFL bye means no changes to the side. - Sarah Black

'Nank' is likely to stay in the VFL.