WHILE the lead-up to round one always feels like a rush to get every player fit, there's always plenty of big names who miss out.

Whether it's through injury or a suspension carrying over from the year before, it's rare that a club will be able to put out its best 22 in the opening week of the season.

But with plenty of time for some of those injuries to heal over the past few months, we're set to see most teams at full strength.

So, who's set for a return for your club?

Adelaide Crows

Notable absentees: Kyle Hartigan, Elliott Himmelberg, Riley Knight, David Mackay, Myles Poholke

The Crows went into the shutdown period with a fit list, with Knight their only significant concern as he made his way back from an Achilles injury. He's not expected to be available for games in two weeks after suffering more heel issues. Adelaide's promotion of first-round pick Fischer McAsey in round one against Sydney saw key defender Hartigan miss selection, while Himmelberg was also named an emergency. Veteran Mackay, along with fellow midfield/forward option Poholke, were also on the fringe against the Swans. Key back Doedee will also be ready to go after having more time to recover from last year’s knee reconstruction. - Callum Twomey

00:29 Mins
Published on

A rare passage of nice play from the Crows

Adelaide work it through the middle of the ground and Riley Knight finishes with the goal

Published on

Brisbane Lions

Notable absentees: Callum Ah Chee, Connor Ballenden, Grant Birchall, Matt Eagles, Cam Ellis-Yolmen, Mitch Hinge, Jack Payne, Archie Smith

Birchall was a late out with hamstring soreness and will come into the reckoning after returning from the lockdown break in good shape. Ah Chee pulled out of selection in the week of the opening match due to illness and will also be fighting for a position at half-back. With Marcus Adams (foot) likely to miss, Chris Fagan could turn to Eagles or Payne to deal with Fremantle's tall forwards. Smith or Ballenden will also come into the frame with Stefan Martin (knee) racing the clock. Ellis-Yolmen and Hinge will need training form to earn a spot. - Mitch Cleary

00:38 Mins
Published on

Marsh: Birchall back in business with trusty left

New recruit Grant Birchall earns his first goal for the Lions with a solid strike from just inside the 50

Published on


Notable absentees: Eddie Betts, Caleb Marchbank, Harry McKay, Charlie Curnow, Matthew Kennedy, Lochie O'Brien

Injuries that kept Betts (calf) and McKay (groin) out of round one are no longer an issue, which will provide the club's forward line with a much-needed boost. However, Curnow (knee) will likely miss the season and Marchbank (knee) is unlikely to recover in time for round two. First-round draft picks Kennedy and O'Brien weren't selected for round one, but could return depending on the fitness of Zac Fisher (syndesmosis) and Nic Newman (elbow). Recruit Marc Pittonet is the likely replacement for injured veteran Matthew Kreuzer (foot) in the ruck, with Tom De Koning (ankle) also on the injury list. - Riley Beveridge

00:47 Mins
Published on

Marsh: Back in blue, Betts puts one through

Eddie Betts' return to the Blues is marked with the opening goal of the game

Published on


Notable absentees: Adam Treloar, Travis Varcoe, Jaidyn Stephenson, Ben Reid, Tom Langdon, Levi Greenwood

Concern continues to linger around Treloar (hamstring/calf), who has endured a number of soft-tissue injuries throughout the first half of the year. He remains incredibly unlikely for the club's round two blockbuster with the Tigers. The club remains hopeful that Varcoe (shoulder) should be available for selection when the season recommences, though Langdon (knee) and Greenwood (knee) remain long-term prospects. Reid (ankle/hamstring) has had a setback in training and is unlikely to face the Tigers. Stephenson was an emergency for round one, but should be in a position to vie for a spot in the team after a summer plagued by glandular fever. - Riley Beveridge

00:31 Mins
Published on

Marsh: Hamstring scare for star mid

Adam Treloar leaves the field with a possible hamstring injury

Published on


Notable absentees: Patrick Ambrose, Joe Daniher, Martin Gleeson, Brayden Ham, Dyson Heppell, Cale Hooker, Shaun McKernan, Conor McKenna

Injury ruled out Ambrose (knee), Daniher (groin), Heppell (foot) and Hooker (hip) in round one while McKernan was ill. McKenna was left out after not quite being match-fit after returning from Ireland, while Gleeson and Ham were also emergencies. Ambrose and Hooker will play against the Swans in round two, while Heppell is touch-and-go as he returns from his persistent foot injury. McKenna finishes his mandatory two-week quarantine this weekend having again returned from his homeland, but the Bombers are keeping the door ajar to pick him. - Callum Twomey

00:32 Mins
Published on

Hooker's heart-stopping winner

Cale Hooker takes a mark in the dying moments of the game and slots the resulting shot in superb style

Published on


Notable absentees: David Mundy, Nathan Wilson, Blake Acres, Jesse Hogan, Stephen Hill, Joel Hamling, Alex Pearce

The Dockers missed a host of stars in the narrow loss to the Bombers, but the troops are on the way back. Mundy (leg), Wilson (toe) and Acres (hamstring) are back in full training, while Hogan (mental health) is stepping up his match conditioning and will be on the flight to Queensland. Hamling and Pearce are still recovering from serious ankle injuries, but Hill could be another round two contender after overcoming his latest quad injury. - Chris Correia

00:31 Mins
Published on

Ice-cold Mundy has a crucial impact

David Mundy crumbs a vital goal despite seeing very little of the Sherrin in a forward role

Published on

Geelong Cats

Notable absentees: Jed Bews, Nakia Cockatoo, Lachie Fogarty, Jake Kolodjashnij, Josh Jenkins, Brandan Parfitt, Rhys Stanley, Jack Steven

Steven missed with hamstring soreness and returned to training this week as he recovers from a stab wound. Given his conditioning will be at least a fortnight behind teammates, he is unlikely to feature in the first handful of weeks. Kolodjashnij is back to full training after pre-season hip surgery, while Parfitt was overlooked after an interrupted build-up with a back complaint. Fogarty (knee) and Cockatoo (hamstring) remain some way away, while Stanley, Jenkins and Bews will need to rely on training form. - Mitch Cleary

00:33 Mins
Published on

Paddy and Parfitt link to perfection

Patrick Dangerfield breaks through the pack and handballs to Brandan Parfitt who finishes with the goal

Published on

Gold Coast Suns

Notable absentees: Charlie Ballard, Pearce Hanley, Jarrod Harbrow, Jack Hombsch, Anthony Miles, Izak Rankine, Alex Sexton, Rory Thompson, Peter Wright

The Suns will have a far stronger line-up in round two than they did in their first-up defeat to Port Adelaide. Leading goalkicker Sexton (hamstring), defensive pair Harbrow (groin) and Hanley (calf), key back Thompson (knee) and potential debutant Rankine (hamstring) are set to be all available after missing the start of the season through injury. Wright was one of the Suns' emergencies in round one, so will be keen to impress over the next two weeks of training before Gold Coast's clash with West Coast. - Callum Twomey

00:41 Mins
Published on

Marsh: Sexton leaves the ground with hamstring injury

Suns star Alex Sexton leaves the ground with a right hamstring injury and doesn't return for the second half

Published on

GWS Giants

Notable absentees: Lachie Ash, Jackson Hately, Shane Mumford, Sam Reid, Tim Taranto, Callan Ward, Zac Williams

The major omission for the Giants in round one was Taranto, with last year's best and fairest still two months away from getting back after his shoulder reconstruction. But Ward should return after his year out with a knee injury to bolster a midfield already brimming with ball-winners, while gun defender Williams is also ready after missing round one with an Achilles issue. Youngsters Ash and Hately are banging down the door, while veterans Reid and Mumford loom as back-up options if the Giants' list stays fit. - Callum Twomey

00:40 Mins
Published on

Marsh: Taranto's day is done

Giant Tim Taranto suffers a dislocated shoulder in an early ruck contest

Published on


Notable absentees: Blake Hardwick, Dan Howe, Jarman Impey, Mitch Lewis, Jack Scrimshaw

Hardwick looked likely to miss half of the season with his pectoral muscle tear but is instead firming to play in round two. There is a longer wait ahead for Impey (knee) and Howe (foot), who could be ready sometime in July. Lewis (ankle) is fit again after his pre-season mishap and will hope to join Jon Patton and Tim O'Brien in attack, or replace the latter. Scrimshaw was probably the unluckiest player to miss out in round one and should be around the mark but may need to bide his time. - Marc McGowan

00:41 Mins
Published on

Serious Hawk blow as Impey carried off

Jarman Impey is brought off the field after appearing to injure his knee in a strong marking contest

Published on


Notable absentees: Harley Bennell, Luke Jackson, Nathan Jones, Christian Salem, Aaron vandenBerg, Sam Weideman

Bennell seems to be on top of his calf problems and is making a late surge for senior selection in round two. The former Docker and Sun is a prodigious talent but last played at AFL level in round 23, 2017. No.3 draft pick Jackson and Weideman were both emergencies for the season opener and likely need to overtake fellow tall forward Mitch Brown to play. Jones (Achilles) and Salem (glandular fever) are certain inclusions, while vandenBerg (foot) is getting close to a return after a horror run. - Marc McGowan

12:01 Mins
Published on

To Hell and Back: Desperate Harley's pledge to Demons

Melbourne puts Harley Bennell through a searching interview before offering a the former No.2 draft pick a lifeline, plus the latest from a gruelling pre-season

Published on

North Melbourne

Notable absentees: Luke Davies-Uniacke, Majak Daw, Taylor Garner, Ben Jacobs, Kayne Turner, Ed Vickers-Willis 

Daw's long-awaited return was put on hold when he was a late withdrawal – replaced by Tom Murphy – in round one with illness. He is looking to play his first senior game since round 23, 2018. Davies-Uniacke (groin) is back running and doing some change-of-direction work. Turner (toe) is nearing a return but won't be ready for round two. Garner was a round one emergency and a high-grade hamstring strain this week has placed his season in jeopardy, while Vickers-Willis was over his knee problem but turf toe will keep him out for the next month. There is no update on Jacobs (concussion). Tristan Xerri would be in the mix if Nick Larkey (foot) is ruled out. - Marc McGowan

01:15 Mins
Published on

First Goal Ever: Roos erupt for jaw-dropping Daw on debut, 2013

It took less than 30 seconds and Majak Daw was already making people smile, including opposition coach Michael Voss

Published on

Notable absentees: Ollie Wines, Riley Bonner, Charlie Dixon, Jack Watts, Peter Ladhams

They were arguably the most impressive side from round one, despite missing some key talent. Now, they'll be bolstered further by some big inclusions for round two. Wines (shoulder) should return for the Showdown, having benefited from the suspension of play after it was initially expected that he'd miss the first six weeks of the season. Dixon (adductor) and Watts (quad) are on track in their recoveries, while Bonner (quad) will also be fully fit after he was a late withdrawn from round one. Ladhams missed out on selection in the ruck to Scott Lycett, despite a strong finish to last season. However, the youngster is likely to continue to vie for a place in the side upon the resumption of play. - Riley Beveridge

00:27 Mins
Published on

Wines' quick kick strikes gold

Ollie Wines has kicked Port Adelaide's first goal of the second term after this quick kick from a hitout

Published on


Notable absentees: Bachar Houli, Jack Ross, Kamdyn McIntosh, Callum Coleman-Jones, Ryan Garthwaite

A calf injury kept Houli out of round one and the two-time premiership star seems unlikely to play in round two either. He was restricted to light duties during the week as the club returned to contact training for the first time. The dashing defender was the only member of last year's premiership 22 still at the club who didn't play in round one so emergencies Ross, McIntosh, Coleman-Jones and Garthwaite will continue to wait for their opportunity. - Ben Sutton

12:57 Mins
Published on

On This Day: Richmond receives a gift, Marlion's dream comes alive

As we acknowledge the start of Reconciliation Week, be inspired by Marlion Pickett's remarkable story

Published on

St Kilda

Notable absentees: Josh Battle, Jake Carlisle, Nick Coffield, Shane Savage, Jack Sinclair, Jimmy Webster

Carlisle is in full training after missing the loss to North Melbourne with a back spasm. However, he may be no certainty, should the Saints again select Dougal Howard, Callum Wilkie and Dylan Roberton in defence. Battle, a round one emergency, falls into the same selection conversation. Coffield, who impressed on the training track Wednesday, Webster and Savage are likely fighting for one spot with Ben Paton who did little wrong against the Roos. Given the additional depth between midfield and small forward roles, Sinclair will need to bang down the door with training form. - Mitch Cleary

00:33 Mins
Published on

Battle shoots, Battle scores

The Saints eventually conjure a much-needed goal through some clever thinking from promising youngster Josh Battle

Published on

Sydney Swans

Notable absentees: Will Gould, Lance Franklin, Lewis Melican, Sam Reid, Dylan Stephens 

The Swans received terrible news this week, when scans confirmed Franklin suffered a significant right hamstring injury that could sideline him for the best part of three months. Injury-prone swingman Reid also sustained a calf injury after undergoing a knee operation in the shutdown period. Melican (hamstring) was almost ready for round one and will push for one of Sydney's key defensive spots. Top draftees Stephens and Gould were around the mark for the season opener and could force their way in for round two. - Marc McGowan

13:40 Mins
Published on

The 23 biggest and best goals of Buddy Franklin's career

Superstar Lance Franklin brings up game 300 and to celebrate we countdown the pick of an incredible bunch of goals

Published on

West Coast Eagles

Notable absentees: Oscar Allen, Jarrod Cameron, Tom Cole, Mark Hutchings, Will Schofield, Nathan Vardy, Jake Waterman, Bailey Williams

Hutchings will be sidelined from full running for the next 3-4 weeks after the Eagles decided to operate on a knee complaint that had been hampering his training. Allen is back to full training and impressed on Friday. Like Williams and Vardy, he'll be eyeing Tom Hickey's role as the pinch-hit ruckman behind Nic Naitanui. Cole (broken thumb) has recovered, but Jarrod Cameron (pubic bone) remains a while off as he builds his fitness base. Waterman and Schofield, should he decide to enter the hub, will need to rely on an injury or training form.

00:40 Mins
Published on

Eagle's beautiful sky-high finish

Mark Hutchings snaps a brilliant goal over his right shoulder

Published on

Western Bulldogs

Notable absentees: Tom Liberatore, Patrick Lipinski, Tory Dickson, Lin Jong, Will Hayes

Liberatore's knee has given him a fair bit of trouble, but he's ticked all the boxes since the Bulldogs have returned to training and is set to go. Lipinski missed round one with a concussion but he's back, while Dickson (adductor) should be considered after the Bulldogs failed to hit the scoreboard against the Pies. Hayes has served his suspension and will battle Jong (hamstring) for a spot on the wing. - Jourdan Canil

02:51 Mins
Published on

The Data Game: Pinpoint Dog a star on the rise

Western Bulldogs midfielder Patrick Lipinski further strengthened his side in 2019

Published on