WHO IS a chance to play in round four?
In this week's In the Mix, brought to you by the Toyota WorkHorse Range, we find the players who are giving their selectors plenty of food for thought.
Who's going out, who's sore, who is under the pump? Our reporters attempt to pick all the round three ins. Check it out.
Rory Atkins looks set to miss after his shoulder injury in last week's loss to Gold Coast, while no guarantees have been placed on any senior players' spots after the second consecutive shocking defeat. Myles Poholke, Shane McAdam and Elliott Himmelberg could all come in after being named as emergencies last week, while experienced defender Kyle Hartigan is also a chance. Will new coach Matthew Nicks swing the axe after a terrible restart to the season?
Verdict: Even if Nicks does want mass changes it's hard to see who comes in and makes a bigger difference. Poholke should get his chance back in the line-up to add some pressure. - Callum Twomey
Dayne Zorko (Achilles soreness) and Stefan Martin (hamstring) are both hoping to prove their fitness this week after missing the win over the Eagles. Zorko's late replacement Cam Ellis-Yolmen contributed strongly, however, fill-in ruckman Archie Smith was shown up by Nic Naitanui. Second-gamer Tom Berry (four disposals) was quiet, while Dan McStay had little impact. Sam Skinner, who sat out along with fellow emergencies Keidean Coleman and Noah Answerth, will be eyeing McStay's spot.
Verdict: Skinner for McStay and provided they're fit, Zorko and Martin for Smith and Tom Berry. - Mitch Cleary
Zac Fisher is closing in on a return from a syndesmosis injury, but Carlton would prefer the diminutive midfielder has a scratch match under his belt before he is made available for the senior team. Sam Philp was again impressive in last week's practice match against Geelong, while fellow first-round draft picks Matt Kennedy and Lochie O'Brien were also among the best. However, the expectation at Ikon Park is that David Teague will still stick with a winning formula for Saturday night's clash with Essendon.
Verdict: No changes, as the Blues keep the same 22 that upset the Cats. - Riley Beveridge
The good news for Collingwood is that key duo Adam Treloar (calf) and Mason Cox (knee) got through last weekend's scratch match unscathed. However, don't necessarily expect both of them to come straight back into the side to face Greater Western Sydney on Friday night. Cox is perhaps more likely to replace Darcy Cameron, who had just two disposals against St Kilda on Saturday. However, given Treloar's extensive history with soft tissue injuries, the Pies are likely to be more patient with his return.
Verdict: One change, as Cox replaces Cameron in attack. Expect Treloar to get another workout in a scratch match before he is considered. - Riley Beveridge
Conor McKenna was set to play his first game of the year in before his positive COVID-19 test came through and saw the Bombers' clash postponed. Orazio Fantasia didn't get selected last week after failing his fitness test ahead of the game, so it will be interesting to see if the Bombers back him in against the Blues or continue to play it conservatively and leave Fantasia for another week. Matt Guelfi was dropped last week.
Verdict: Guelfi back in for McKenna. - Callum Twomey
The Dockers rolled the dice by naming the injury-cursed Stephen Hill last week and his rotten luck continued when he picked up a corked calf in training and was a late out against Port Adelaide. He will be in contention to return against Gold Coast along with ruckman Sean Darcy, who has made a rapid recovery from his knee injury. Sam Sturt suffered a nasty ankle roll against the Power which will keep him out for around a month. Travis Colyer, Hayden Young, Rory Lobb and Brandon Matera will all be nervous after quiet performances on Sunday night. Connor Blakely and potential debutant Caleb Serong will be around the mark should Justin Longmuir want to mix up his engine room. The Dockers didn't have a practice match last weekend for reserves to press for selection, so players will need to impress on the training track this week.
Verdict: The Dockers to load up on talls and add Darcy back to the line-up if passed fit. Hill to join him as an in for Sturt and a very unlucky Young. - Chris Correia
The Cats have plenty of injury headaches ahead of Sunday. Luke Dahlhaus (concussion) and Sam Menegola (back) are being monitored, while Rhys Stanley (knee) looks likely to miss. Jack Steven appeared severely underdone, but the Cats are adamant he's in their best 22 and will be better for the run. Brandan Parfitt (hamstring) is fit and Jake Kolodjashnij is ready to return in defence, but who he replaces will be a tough call. Jed Bews was last defender in, while Harry Taylor and Jack Henry will be looked at on match-ups. Charlie Constable, Jordan Clark, Darcy Fort and James Parsons were strong in the scratch match against Carlton.
Verdict: Fort for Stanley and Kolodjashnij for Taylor against a small Melbourne forward line. Should Dahlhaus and Menegola miss, Parfitt and Clark to be next in. - Mitch Cleary
It's hard to see many – if any – changes for the rising Suns this week after impressive back-to-back wins in the past two weeks. If Stuart Dew is to consider any changes, Izak Rankine was exciting in the Suns' scratch match and got through four quarters, while Brayden Fiorini and Sean Lemmens, who were surprising omissions against the Crows, would be next in line. Will Brodie is another who will be hoping to break back into the side after playing well in the practice game against the Crows.
Verdict: No change. Onwards and upwards for the Suns. - Callum Twomey
The Giants sorely missed Toby Greene (knee) and Josh Kelly (calf) last week against the Western Bulldogs, but both are looking likely to return for Friday night's big clash with Collingwood. Tom Green is another who could be considered for the Giants after making his debut back in round one if they are keen to add another strong inside midfielder to their mix.
Verdict: Greene looks ready to go so Zac Langdon will probably make way. Jackson Hately performed well as Kelly's replacement but he won't keep out the star mid. - Callum Twomey
Jack Scrimshaw will surely keep his spot after an eye-catching display as a late inclusion for veteran forward Paul Puopolo (calf). The Hawks initially opted to drop Harry Morrison last week, keeping faith in Puopolo to snap out of his funk, so on that basis he would be expected to return if he is fit. Does that make Ollie Hanrahan vulnerable? Coach Alastair Clarkson hinted post-match last week he would stick with tall forwards Jon Patton and Tim O'Brien despite them being quiet again. However, there must be some temptation to recall Mitch Lewis. Midfielder Harry Jones will get his opportunity soon enough. Ricky Henderson's availability, after hurting himself last Thursday night, could also be a factor.
Verdict: Puopolo in for Hanrahan. - Marc McGowan
The Demons didn't play a competitive match at the weekend because of their clash with Essendon being postponed in the wake of Conor McKenna's positive COVID-19 test. They instead organised an intraclub game at the MCG on Sunday between 40 players, where Mitch Brown pushed his case for promotion with three goals. Melbourne was planning to go small in attack against the Bombers, with Mitch Hannan, Kozzy Pickett and midfielder-forward Aaron vandenBerg the inclusions. Unless Nathan Jones, Michael Hibberd, Luke Jackson or Alex Neal-Bullen were able to change the coaches' opinion on Sunday, they will likely be left out again.
Verdict: You'd imagine the Dees will go with the squad they finalised on Friday. If not, ex-Cat Brown could challenge Hannan if they choose to go taller against his old side. - Marc McGowan
Ben Cunnington (back) should return after being a late withdrawal. Marley Williams also seems a certain defensive inclusion after impressing in the Roos' scratch match against the Bulldogs' reserves on Friday. They have a decision to make on Mason Wood. Rhyce Shaw praised Wood's role in the win over GWS despite his modest numbers but he's now had 16 goalless touches as a forward in the past fortnight. Could strong-marking Tristan Xerri or Lachie Hosie be called up to face Hawthorn for what would be their debut? Jack Mahony's three quickfire goals in the practice game could have him in contention, too, while Bailey Scott is another option.
Verdict: Cunnington and Williams replace Bonar and Hayden. - Marc McGowan
After three wins on the trot, things are looking rosy for Port Adelaide. However, Ken Hinkley will have to find a replacement for impressive youngster Xavier Duursma, who could miss the next month due to a hamstring injury. Fellow first-round draft pick Mitch Georgiades has recovered from a calf setback and could be included, while the Power have liked the work of Sam Mayes on the training track. Ryan Burton is still another fortnight away, having sprained his knee during the club's Showdown victory in round two.
Verdict: Expect either Georgiades or Mayes to replace Duursma, depending on how Hinkley views the team balance heading into this week's clash with West Coast. - Riley Beveridge
Dustin Martin looks set to return after missing last week's loss to Hawthorn with bruised ribs. Liam Baker will also be available after returning to Western Australia for a family matter. Draftee Thomson Dow continues to push his case, while Kamdyn McIntosh and Pat Naish are always in the mix. Could Toby Nankervis or Noah Balta come in to bolster the tall stocks against St Kilda's two-pronged ruck set-up? Coming off their first loss in over a year there will be a few nervous Tigers. Daniel Rioli and Marlion Pickett were both quiet, while Sydney Stack had six clangers. One of Jack Graham or Jack Ross could also be squeezed out.
Verdict: Martin, Baker and McIntosh come in for Pickett, Stack and Graham. - Ben Sutton
The addition of Jonathon Marsh (nine disposals) meant the Saints went extremely tall in attack in the loss to the Pies. Nick Coffield had some shaky moments in defence, while Nick Hind (four disposals) was quiet after an impressive outing the week before against the Dogs. The two rucks were upstaged by Brodie Grundy, so Brett Ratten will be deliberating Paddy Ryder's spot in the side. Josh Battle and Jack Sinclair were the carryover emergencies, while Dean Kent and Jimmy Webster presented their case in a Saturday morning scratch match. Jarryn Geary will be out to prove he's fit after missing with a minor hamstring.
Verdict: Battle and Sinclair for Marsh and Hind. - Mitch Cleary
There will be at least one change at the Swans, who will be without Tom McCartin (concussion) for their quick turnaround against the Western Bulldogs. No.1 ruckman Sam Naismith (hamstring) is on track to play after a fortnight out, so the Swans must decide if there is still a role for Callum Sinclair. Justin McInerney (omitted) is a good chance to come back in but his replacement, Hayden McLean, did some nice things. It might be a call between Sinclair and McLean. Fresh legs could be a priority, with Ryan Clarke, Chad Warner and Dylan Stephens in line to be selected if there is some shuffling of places.
Verdict: Naismith (if fit) and McInerney for Sinclair and McCartin. - Marc McGowan
Provided he can overcome a sprained ankle sustained in a scratch match, Jeremy McGovern will be rushed back into defence. Tom Cole was the carryover emergency last week and now has a solid month of training under his belt, Jake Waterman and Jamaine Jones are pushing for berths in attack and ruckman Bailey Williams is still knocking on the door for a debut. Will Schofield looks the most likely to miss for McGovern, while youngsters Josh Rotham and Jack Petruccelle were quiet.
Verdict: McGovern and Cole for Schofield and Rotham. - Mitch Cleary
With Josh Dunkley (ankle syndesmosis) out for at least six weeks, Patrick Lipinski should re-gain his spot in the side. The Dogs could get Jack Macrae to play the role Dunkley has taken on this year, while Lipinski can take on Macrae's duties. Louis Butler is a confirmed debutant and could replace a veteran in the backline.
Verdict: Patrick Lipinski, Louis Butler replace Josh Dunkley and Matt Suckling. - Jourdan Canil