After being thrashed by the Swans last Saturday night, Carlton is likely to make several changes to take on North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium this Friday. Andrew Walker will miss after the Blues decided the dashing defender will have an arthroscope on a troublesome knee injury, ruling him out for the rest of the season. Clever forward Troy Menzel should be fit to resume after injuring his shoulder in the round 16 victory over St Kilda and midfielder Mitch Robinson is available after serving a two-game suspension. Matthew Watson performed well as a key forward in the VFL last Sunday, kicking three goals. Promising midfielder Patrick Cripps has been impressive in the VFL since returning from a broken leg and young defender Dylan Buckley may be ready to resume after breaking his hand last month. - Howard Kotton

Brendon Goddard will make a swift return to Essendon's outfit after serving his one-week suspension, and Michael Hibberd could also be back in defence after two weeks out with an ankle injury. If they get through the week unscathed, it is hard to see the Bombers making too many other changes following their big win over Collingwood. Kyle Hardingham kicked three goals in the VFL, while rookie Ariel Steinberg continues his solid form in defence. Elliott Kavanagh and Orazio Fantasia are also around the mark for senior selection. - Callum Twomey

Nine things we learned from round 17

Jobe Watson (below) may be some time away but Michael Hibberd could be back this week. Picture: AFL Media

Seats on the Dockers' bus are hard to come by as they roll towards September. Hayden Ballantyne has accepted his one-match suspension so a spot has opened up this week. Luke McPharlin is likely to come back in to face St Kilda after a minor calf strain kept him out last week. Matt de Boer staked a claim for a recall with 31 touches and 10 tackles for Peel in his third WAFL match since recovering from a medial ligament strain. Tom Sheridan had 21 disposals and kicked a goal. Hayden Crozier gathered 20 touches and also kicked a goal. However, both remain on the periphery. The Dockers have the bye next week but if they wished to give one of their ruckmen a extra week's rest Jon Griffin continues to perform well in the WAFL. Griffin had 38 hit-outs and 17 touches in a solid duel with former West Coast and Sydney Swans ruckman Mark Seaby.  - Alex Malcolm

The Giants will be licking their wounds from another tough trip to Perth, where they were competitive against Fremantle yet still suffered a heavy loss. Jeremy Cameron at least indicated a return to form and Toby Greene, Lachie Whitfield and Jacob Townsend had some good moments. Pressure keeps coming from the reserves, who won their seventh consecutive game on Sunday. Nathan Wilson, back in the seconds following three senior games between rounds 13-15, was among the best players in the 55-point win over Gold Coast. Jonathan Giles, Josh Hunt and Tom Boyd also performed well ahead of this week's clash against Geelong at Spotless Stadium. - James Dampney

The Giants may recall Jonathan Giles (below) for Saturday's clash against Geelong. Picture: AFL Media

Given they need to boost their percentage, the Cats are unlikely to rest any experienced players for the trip to Sydney to play the Giants on Saturday night. Nevertheless, a number of young players pushed their case for a call-up with impressive performances in the VFL at the weekend. Emerging defender Jed Bews was named Geelong's best in its narrow loss to Richmond at Simonds Stadium. Bews finished with 15 disposals and seven marks, while midfielder-turned-forward Jackson Thurlow also performed strongly, tallying 18 disposals, 11 marks and five inside-50s. - Adam McNicol

Speedster Sam Blease might be a chance to play his first game for the season after another reasonable performance in the VFL. His disposal has let him down in recent weeks but Melbourne needs some excitement and goalkicking power. Blease had 24 touches and kicked two goals and is too good to play VFL all season. Jay Kennedy-Harris could be a chance too as he managed 25 touches in the midfield and Dom Barry kicked three goals in his return to VFL after a taste of senior football. Mitch Clisby has been building across half-back and Neville Jetta's form has dropped off slightly while Viv Michie is keeping the pressure on the team's midfielders. After 80 hit-outs Max Gawn must come under discussion to support Mark Jamar. - Peter Ryan

Jack Ziebell's mood may improve if he's cleared to play against Carlton on Friday night. Picture: AFL Media

Lachlan Hansen faces a fitness test after being substituted out of last Saturday's game against St Kilda following a heavy knock to the chin. The key defender is understood to have passed a concussion test soon after his clash with St Kilda ruckman Tom Hickey and the Roos are confident he will be fit to take on Carlton this Friday night. Vice-captain Jack Ziebell (knee) is a chance to return after two weeks on the sidelines, but faces a fitness test later this week, as does Leigh Adams, who received a knock to his knee late in the Saints game. Luke McDonald (illness) will be available for selection after he was a late withdrawal against St Kilda. Midfielder Liam Anthony and defender Max Warren were among North Ballarat's best performers in the VFL on the weekend, while defender Taylor Hine and forward/ruckman Majak Daw were in Werribee's best players. - Nick Bowen

It's unlikely injured pair Alipate Carlile (hamstring) and Angus Monfries (hamstring) will play against Melbourne on Sunday but the club hasn't completely ruled them out. Robbie Gray (concussion) was said to be unaffected by his head knock early in the week, although he'll still be put through the necessary tests before lining up. After a fourth loss in five weeks, Ken Hinkley would have cast a keen eye on SANFL performers Paul Stewart (33 disposals) and Karl Amon (21 possessions, four goals), who were the Magpies' best, while Lewis Stevenson was also solid and Andrew Moore continued his return from a collarbone injury. - Harry Thring
Clint Jones is likely to earn an immediate recall after a strong performance in the VFL, finishing with 34 possessions and a goal. The hard-working midfielder was an emergency last week but his experience could be called on for a daunting clash against Fremantle at Etihad Stadium on Saturday. Also making strong claims for senior selection was Brodie Murdoch, who racked up 38 possessions and 10 marks across half-back for Sandringham to be his team's best. The Saints have been experimenting with their talls at VFL level, with Tom Simpkin starting forward but moving back after quarter time where he was solid. Defender Josh Bruce played forward for the second week in a row and presented well, taking 10 marks. He didn't capitalise on his chances though, booting 2.4. - Nathan Schmook

Skipper Ryan Griffen should return from illness to face Essendon at Etihad Stadium on Sunday. Tough midfielder Clay Smith put his hand up for a recall after a best-on-ground performance in the VFL on the weekend. The 21-year-old has battled injury and illness over the past 12 months but 34 disposals, five tackles and three goals proved he'd be a worthy inclusion against the Bombers. Shaun Higgins responded to his axing from the senior side with 34 touches while Brett Goodes also had a big afternoon with 38 possessions. Jarrad Grant and Liam Jones looked dangerous up forward with two goals apiece. Daniel Giansiracusa also looms as a possible inclusion after completing his suspension, as does key defender Fletcher Roberts, possibly at the expense of Mark Austin. - Ryan Davidson