Adelaide Crows

In a continued blow to the Crows’ backline, Rory Laird will miss a third game with a fractured toe, but the club expects he’ll be able to line up next week. David Mackay remains several weeks away with a hamstring injury, but has returned to running. Adelaide is unlikely to make many – if any – changes and given its SANFL side had the bye last weekend, coach Don Pyke doesn’t have much immediate form to bring into the senior side. Cam Ellis-Yolmen found himself in fine touch just before the side’s week off, collecting 25 possessions and kicking two goals in round seven of the SANFL. - Harry Thring 


 Just how many changes are made for Sunday's match against Melbourne at the MCG might depend on how ruthless Justin Leppitsch wants to be. Dayne Beams is in doubt with a knee injury, which would bring draftee Rhys Mathieson right into the frame to debut after he was the first emergency to play Collingwood last weekend. Fellow midfielders Nick Robertson and Billy Evans have also been strong in the reserves, while Jackson Paine's elevation to the senior list is an indicator he might come into the defence. Young tall Eric Hipwood is getting closer to playing his first game after kicking four goals in the NEAFL. - Michael Whiting


The Blues' big man stocks have been depleted with injuries to ruckman Matthew Kreuzer (knee) and key forward Levi Casboult (broken leg). Andrew Phillips (hamstring) is likely to miss again, so former Gold Coast Sun Daniel Gorringe and rookie Cameron Wood head the list of likely replacements for Kreuzer. No.1 draft pick Jacob Weitering is a chance to return after missing the past two games with a shoulder injury and looms as Casboult's replacement, with Sam Rowe likely to stay in attack where he was so effective against Port Adelaide last Sunday. If Weitering does not come up the Blues might consider Kristian Jaksch and Simon White, an emergency against the Power. Jaksch has been playing in attack in the VFL and White can be used in various roles. While the Northern Blues were thrashed by Williamstown in the VFL last Saturday, Jaksch, Jason Tutt (28 disposals), Jack Silvagni and Dylan Buckley, returning from two weeks on the sidelines, were among their best players, although Buckley was reported and rubbed out for two weeks. In better news Irish rookie Ciaran Sheehan made a successful return to football in the Northern Blues development team last Saturday. Playing his first game since August 2014 after overcoming hip and groin problems, Sheehan collected seven disposals and showed customary dash off half-back in the opening half. - Howard Kotton 

It's his debut year but Jacob Weitering is already an important player for the Blues. Picture: AFL Media


The Magpies hope to regain star defender Ben Reid for their clash with an in-form Geelong at the MCG on Saturday. Reid missed the win over the Brisbane Lions with a shoulder injury but the Pies are confident he will be ready to return. It's difficult to imagine any form-related changes being made to the side that belted the Lions, however backman Jonathon Marsh and ruckman Jarrod Witts are possibilities after their performances in the VFL. James Aish was one of the best afield in the Pies' VFL win over Geelong, but will likely be asked to produce at least a repeat performance before receiving a recall. Other names that could be raised at the selection table include young runners Matthew Goodyear and Tom Phillips, along with Brent Macaffer. Key forward Travis Cloke is yet to find the form required to resume at AFL level, but will the Pies pull a surprise and bank on Cloke's big-game experience against the Cats? - Ben Collins


Running half-back Martin Gleeson again put his case forward for a return to Essendon's senior side with a strong display at VFL level last weekend. Gleeson had 23 disposals in the Bombers' loss to Coburg and is ready for a recall. Jackson Merrett also had 23 touches in a forward/midfield role, while first-year player Alex Morgan gathered 22 disposals in his second VFL outing. If the Bombers are looking to bring in some support for Joe Daniher in the forward line, they could add Sam Grimley, who booted three goals in the VFL. Shaun Edwards and Yestin Eades have also shown some exciting signs in recent weeks and could be considered. - Callum Twomey 


More changes will be made at the Dockers this week. Matthew Pavlich will come back in after a week off. Tommy Sheridan should also come back in after he was a late withdrawal last week due to illness. Stephen Hill looks set to miss after hurting his adductor in Launceston. Once again it's a balance for Ross Lyon to mix blooding youth with picking a team that will be competitive. Michael Barlow was dropped last week and Lyon said he and Connor Blakely are competing for similar roles. Barlow answered with 39 disposals for Peel Thunder to push his case. Matt de Boer continued his good form with 39 touches as well for Peel. Darcy Tucker had 19 disposals for Peel but whether he's done enough remains to be seen. Jack Hannath had 14 disposals and 28 hit-outs in the ruck to put pressure on the Dockers' big men. Zac Dawson looks like he will spend some time in the WAFL unless there is a desperate need for tall defenders against Richmond. - Alex Malcolm

It's not a great year for Fremantle but they'll be better for having Matthew Pavlich back. Picture: AFL Media


George Horlin-Smith was the travelling emergency in Adelaide and the Cats must be tempted to reward his good VFL form and give him a first-up run for the season in the seniors. Tom Lonergan's concussion will be monitored but if he misses, an opportunity opens up in defence. Jake Kolodjashnij would be the obvious replacement but he is sidelined after breaking his hand at training. Ryan Gardner would be a risk given he is in just his first season but he has played well in defence in the past two weeks while Josh Cowan, Billie Smedts (who was excellent in the VFL against Collingwood) or Jordan Murdoch could get an opportunity if the Cats are prepared to change their defensive mix. - Peter Ryan 

Gold Coast

The Suns will be without Adam Saad (hamstring), while Gary Ablett, Tom Nicholls and Touk Miller all face tests during the week to face Adelaide at Metricon Stadium on Saturday. There is some relief in sight though, with Rory Thompson (ankle) facing a fitness test to play his first game since three. Peter Wright (calf) is also a big chance to return, as is ruckman Dan Currie should Nicholls not come up. Coach Rodney Eade could also look at reserves form to fill any holes. Draftee Mackenzie Willis was strong at the weekend, as was utility Luke Russell. - Michael Whiting


Key midfielder Toby Greene should be back to take on the Western Bulldogs on Sunday after he missed last week's win over Gold Coast with soreness. It's a bit like 'Groundhog Day' at the Giants with Adam Tomlinson banging on the selection door, and he was again outstanding in the NEAFL last week. The versatile big man gathered 44 possessions and took 13 marks as the Giants thrashed an undermanned Suns outfit. James Stewart kicked five goals for the winners, while academy draftee Matthew Kennedy had 37 touches and Jake Barrett 34. - Adam Curley

The red-hot Giants will only be stronger with Toby Greene back in the side. Picture: AFL Media


The main selection issue at Hawthorn centres around the mercurial Cyril Rioli, who didn't play against Fremantle on the weekend because of a family illness that dictated his return to the Northern Territory. He is on 'indefinite leave' from the club and his return for the crunch Friday night clash with the Sydney Swans at the MCG is uncertain. The small forward combination of Rioli, Luke Bruest and Paul Puopolo would pose real problems for the Swans, who if they are vulnerable, it is down back, and so the Hawks are hopeful Rioli is able to return. Otherwise, expect few changes to a side that has started to find some form, particularly given that Box Hill, which lost its first game for the season, only played on Sunday. - Ashley Browne 


Melbourne will need to make at least one forced change for Sunday's game against the Brisbane Lions with Neville Jetta suspended for one match for striking Bulldog Marcus Bontempelli. The Demons are likely to give Alex Neal-Bullen his chance after consecutive weeks starring in the VFL. The young midfielder collected another 39 disposals for the Casey Scorpions against Sandringham on Saturday. Ben Newton (30), Lynden Dunn (28) and Jack Trengove (26) were others to impress. Paul Roos said after the loss to the Bulldogs that changes would be considered, particularly as the club tries to find its most effective defensive setup. That focus brings Oscar McDonald and Sam Frost into the selection equation. - Ben Guthrie

It could be the good news story of the season if Jack Trengove gets called up. Picture: AFL Media

North Melbourne

Daniel Wells wasn't risked against Essendon, but the veteran looks likely to make it back from a corked quad for an intriguing contest against a rejuvenated Carlton. Defender Sam Wright has missed a couple of matches with an ankle issue and he might be touch-and-go for Saturday night's clash with his recovery progressing slower than hoped. Lachlan Hansen is a possible inclusion if he has sufficiently recovered from concussion, while Trent Dumont (31 disposals), Farren Ray (25 disposals) and Aaron Black (four goals) stuck their hands up with impressive efforts in Werribee's thrilling two-point win over Box Hill. - Travis King

Port Adelaide

Star midfielder Robbie Gray is expected to return to the Power’s senior side this weekend having overcome his hamstring injury. Gray has missed three games with the injury but neared full fitness last week and will prove a welcome inclusion to the side that narrowly missed out on four points last weekend against Carlton. Full-back Alipate Carlile is also a likely inclusion after making a successful return from injury at the weekend in the SANFL. Carlile managed 14 possessions and, like Gray, will bring a wealth of experience back into the side. Sam Colquhoun continued his stunning SANFL form alongside Carlile, amassing another 32 disposals and taking an astonishing 20 marks. Sam Gray was also on fire in the losing side, collecting 27 possessions and clearing the ball 10 times. - Harry Thring 


After two weeks sidelined with a fractured cheekbone, captain Trent Cotchin should be cleared for the Tigers' trip to face Fremantle. The club had taken a cautions approach last week but Cotchin is expected to have healed sufficiently now to play. Richmond will also be looking at its defensive mix, with Bachar Houli sidelined. Taylor Hunt replaced Houli in last weeks' team, but there are other options that could be considered. Reece Conca, who was earmarked as a half-back pre-season, returned from a hamstring injury in the VFL and got through unscathed with 22 possessions, six clearances and seven tackles. Running defender Jason Castagna (21 possessions), who was an emergency last week, is another option in the role if the Tigers decide to tinker with a winning mix. Courageous midfielder Kane Lambert (punctured lung/rib) will need to pass a fitness test after pushing hard to play last week. – Nathan Schmook        

The return of Trent Cotchin will be vital if the Tigers are to gain some momentum. Picture: AFL Media

St Kilda

The Saints missed Sam Fisher against West Coast last week and would love to bring him back to face Essendon, pending his fitness. If not, Tom Lee was best-on-ground in the VFL and may come in to play on 201cm forward Joe Daniher. Small forwards Jack Lonie and Jack Sinclair weren't especially prolific versus the Eagles. Lonie is probably more likely to get dropped, for Eli Templeton or one of the aforementioned defenders. Sam Gilbert could then return to the midfield in that scenario. - Dinny Navaratnam

Sydney Swans

The Swans will be hoping Josh Kennedy (hamstring) and Ben McGlynn (corked thigh) can train this week ad return to face Hawthorn at the MCG on Friday night. Both were badly missed in the team's one-point loss to Richmond last week and add hardness and experience to the midfield that had a quiet night against the Tigers. Gary Rohan could make a return to add some pace to the side but hasn't shown great form in the NEAFL over the past month and picked up just 14 possessions in the reserves' huge win over Canberra last week. Toby Nankervis booted six goals for the winners and Sam Naismith added three, but with Kurt Tippett and Callum Sinclair playing well there's no spots for the emerging ruck/forwards. - Adam Curley 

Josh Kennedy was sorely missed by the Swans last round. Picture: AFL Media

West Coast

It will be hard for the Eagles to make any changes after a 103-point win. The only hope for the fringe players would be if some players failed to recover in the six-day turnaround. But the Eagles appeared to escape the St Kilda win without any injury concerns. Lewis Jetta had 29 disposals for East Perth on Saturday, which pleased coach Adam Simpson. He is in the mix to return but Simpson said he still has some work to do. Xavier Ellis is ready to go whenever he is required. Simpson is itching to get young running defenders Tom Cole and Jackson Nelson into the team but he simply can't find room for them at the moment. Tom Barrass is another young key defender that Simpson would like to give opportunities to sooner rather than later. - Alex Malcolm

Western Bulldogs

With Matthew Boyd and Jack Redapth both accepting one-week suspensions from the MRP, Luke Beveridge will have to dig deeper into a list that's been hit hard by injuries. Midfielder Koby Stevens could fill the void left by Boyd if he passes a fitness test on an abdominal strain. Utility Lukas Webb is another option after strong form in the VFL. With Tom Boyd (shoulder) likely to be unavailable to replace Redpath for Sunday's clash with GWS, it could open the door for veteran ruckman Will Minson to play his first senior game since last year's elimination final loss to Adelaide. Jordan Roughead may be needed down back to combat the Giants' tall attack with Marcus Adams still recovering from a finger fracture, and that could see Minson partner Tom Campbell in the ruck. Key defender Kieran Collins should also be in contention to make his debut. Versatile defender Joel Hamling, and midfielders Lin Jong, Mitch Honeychurch and Josh Dunkley all had good games for Footscray on the weekend. – Ryan Davidson