WHO IS a chance to play in round nine?
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 R9 ins. Check it out.
THE FULL INJURY LIST Who is racing the clock?
Acting captain Tom Doedee remains in the mix to face North Melbourne this Saturday despite his low-grade hamstring injury, however, Brad Crouch has been ruled out after his strain against the Bombers. Young midfielder Harry Schoenberg could come in for Crouch to make his debut after impressing recently in scratch matches. Experienced duo Riley Knight and Bryce Gibbs will also be a chance to come in to the Crows' line-up, as could Ned McHenry after he was managed last week, with fellow youngster Chayce Jones quiet against the Bombers. Darcy Fogarty is also available after his shoulder injury.
Verdict: Crows coach Matthew Nicks should take this chance to turn to Schoenberg to come in for Crouch. Fogarty could come in to give Fischer McAsey a break. - Callum Twomey
A host of changes needed for the Lions' clash against Essendon on Friday night with Daniel Rich (hamstring), Ryan Lester (hamstring), Dan McStay (suspension) and Archie Smith (ankle) to miss. Noah Answerth and Alex Witherden have been bashing the door down for a spot in the backline and both would be fine replacements. Sam Skinner and untried Connor Ballenden lead the race to replace McStay and Smith, with both in good form as marking targets in the club's reserves matches. Cam Ellis-Yolmen has played one game in the reserves after a calf problem and would also come into consideration, along with Deven Robertson.
Verdict: Witherden's exquisite ball-use seems a good replacement for Rich, while Answerth is an undersized replacement for Lester, but a fine fit against a quick Essendon forward line. Skinner deserves a long-awaited second game, and Ellis-Yolmen could also come in as an extra midfielder with Skinner able to back-up ruck - Michael Whiting
Carlton expects to lose Mitch McGovern to a hamstring injury ahead of this week's clash with Hawthorn, but Harry McKay's imminent return from a minor knee issue should solve that headache for David Teague. Callum Moore was a late inclusion for McKay last week and supported Marc Pittonet in the ruck. The Blues might use Levi Casboult in that role against the Hawks on Friday night, which would enable a smaller option like Zac Fisher to return to the side. Caleb Marchbank and Jack Silvagni are both dealing with knee injuries and aren't yet ready to return.
Verdict: Two changes, with McKay and Fisher replacing McGovern and Moore. - Riley Beveridge
Collingwood will lose skipper Scott Pendlebury to a quad problem for at least the next fortnight, but Steele Sidebottom's return from a four-match suspension will mean Nathan Buckley has an automatic replacement. Atu Bosenavulagi will therefore make way, having been a late inclusion for Pendlebury last week. The Pies trialled Darcy Moore forward in the latter stages of Sunday's loss to the Eagles and could stick with that experiment ahead of this weekend's clash with the Dockers. Could that mean Ben Reid returns from a calf issue to take his place in the backline? Should that occur, expect Josh Thomas and Josh Daicos to be looking over their shoulders. There remain doubts over Travis Varcoe's fitness following a blow to his ribs.
Verdict: At least one change, with Sidebottom to replace Bosenavulagi. If the Pies are willing to swing Moore forward, then Reid could return for Thomas. - Riley Beveridge
The Bombers are set for at least two changes, with Jayden Laverde to miss a period with an ankle injury and Kyle Langford suspended. Dylan Shiel will return from his two-game suspension to replace Langford in the midfield, while the Bombers will need to find another forward to come in for Laverde, who was playing well against the Crows before his injury struck. James Stewart is an option to play his first game since 2018, while Matt Guelfi has also played across the ground. Wingman Tom Cutler could also be in the frame after returning from his calf injury.
Verdict: Shiel in for Langford and Stewart replaces Laverde. - Callum Twomey
The Dockers have several key injury concerns after Monday night's shocker against Geelong. Michael Walters is set for scans, but the club is hopeful he just suffered hamstring cramp late in the loss. Sean Darcy is in the same boat, while Blake Acres looked sore with a cork. Darcy Tucker suffered hamstring tendon damage early against the Cats, but there's a handy replacement in dual Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe who should return to take on Collingwood. Brennan Cox was a late out with his hip flaring up again but will be a test, while debutant replacement Tobe Watson didn't look out of place in the horrendous conditions.
Verdict: Fyfe in for Tucker, Cox in for an unlucky Watson, with Connor Blakely and Lloyd Meek on standby for Walters and Darcy. Jesse Hogan (calf) and Sam Sturt (ankle) to be given another week before returning. - Chris Correia
Skipper Joel Selwood is pushing to play, but with a four-day break off Saturday night's clash with the Eagles, he may be more likely to face North Melbourne on August 5. Jack Steven should be fresh after being 'managed' despite just one game in 23 days, but Quinton Narkle and Tom Atkins are expected to need another week. The ruck set-up of Esava Ratugolea and Mark Blicavs worked well against Fremantle in the wet, but how will it go against Nic Naitanui? While Josh Jenkins hasn't been seen at scratch match level due to an ongoing back injury, the Cats may consider throwing him in for his club debut for added ruck depth now he's back in full training. If that happens, it could push Blicavs into defence and tip Lachie Henderson out. Tom Hawkins' suspension should open the door for 21-year-old debutant Nathan Kreuger.
Verdict: Hard to see Jenkins having done enough, so Henderson stays. Kreuger in for Hawkins and Steven to replace whoever needs a rest, potentially Sam Simpson or veteran Zach Tuohy. - Mitch Cleary
A narrow loss to the Western Bulldogs, no injuries and a 10-day break before hosting Greater Western Sydney on Sunday is not a recipe for too many changes. Pearce Hanley and Darcy Macpherson – whose pressure was much improved - were quiet against the Dogs. Brayden Fiorini and Sean Lemmens again impressed in the reserves.
Verdict: Macpherson has battled for weeks to find his best form and last week coach Stuart Dew hinted that Lemmens was close to a call-up. This should be the match. Lemmens in for Macpherson. - Michael Whiting
It is hard to see too many changes at the Giants after last week's win over Richmond, however they could welcome back dashing defender Zac Williams from his hamstring injury. Jackson Hately performed well last week in the club's scratch match having been omitted from the side, so will be a chance, as will Tom Green and Matt Buntine. Lachie Ash has been impressive so should hold his spot if Williams returns, while Zac Langdon could come under some selection heat after being quiet last week.
Verdict: With Williams ready to go he could come back at Langdon's expense and the Giants can flip around some of their magnetboard. - Callum Twomey
It all comes down to fitness for the Hawks, who look set to welcome back Jarman Impey (knee) and Luke Breust (jaw) at minimum in a major boost. Tim O'Brien (ankle) and Jon Ceglar (toe) could also come in if they pass fitness tests. Midfielder Harry Jones spent some time up forward in the weekend scratch match, and Hawthorn appears to be exploring ways to get him into the senior side. Among those vulnerable are Keegan Brooksby – assuming at least one of O'Brien and Ceglar returns – Darren Minchington, Josh Morris, Harry Morrison and possibly Mitch Lewis, who won just one possession in the Sydney loss. Finn Maginness might be an option for his senior debut if the Hawks axe Tom Scully. Michael Hartley might have to bide his time a bit longer, but Dylan Moore or Ollie Hanrahan could snare a small forward spot.
Verdict: Impey, Breust, O'Brien and Ceglar in, replacing Morrison, Morris or Minchington, Brooksby and Scully. Watch for Jones if one or more of the four potential inclusions aren't fit. - Marc McGowan
Coach Simon Goodwin has pledged not to deliberately rest anyone, but we're sure to see Harley Bennell get a game off at some stage. Nathan Jones, who was solid in his return against Brisbane, may be in the same boat. Tom McDonald kicked four goals in a weekend scratch match and is primed to return, but the Demons must figure out how they do that. High draftee Luke Jackson is keeping McDonald out and showing promise. Tom Sparrow and Adam Tomlinson loom as other leading contenders. Sparrow is eyeing off Angus Brayshaw's spot, after the latter's nine-disposal outing on Sunday night. Brayshaw continues not to play big minutes and his numbers are down across the board, even once they're 'normalised' to usual game duration. Alex Neal-Bullen and Joel Smith are also pushing for an opportunity.
Verdict: McDonald for Jackson but Brayshaw gets another chance. - Marc McGowan
Six straight losses mean change is probably necessary, but don't expect many for the date with winless Adelaide (and maybe even none). Some of the older crew, such as Jamie Macmillan – not for his mistake that cost a goal – and Aaron Hall, could be nervous. The reason might more be that the Roos need to see what others are capable of ahead of a potential list cleanout at season's end. Tom Murphy and a fit-again Will Walker are among those players. Paul Ahern and Aiden Bonar are others hoping to return after injury setbacks, while former senior staples Marley Williams and Majak Daw are out of contract and desperate to break back in.
Verdict: Unchanged. - Marc McGowan
Port Adelaide will be forced into at least one change, with young forward Todd Marshall undergoing surgery on a broken thumb that will keep sidelined for at least six weeks. Justin Westhoff had been omitted, before returning as a late inclusion last week and will remain under the pump after another quiet night against the Saints. Riley Bonner (hip) is also an injury concern stemming from Saturday night's defeat. Trent McKenzie (back), Cam Sutcliffe (hamstring) and Scott Lycett (knee) will all undergo fitness tests ahead of Friday night's bout with the Demons, with the forward mix likely to be crucial due to Marshall's absence.
Verdict: At least one change, with McKenzie to replace Marshall in the side. Sutcliffe will be on standby for Bonner, while Westhoff could lose his place if Lycett is deemed fit. - Riley Beveridge
Richmond has axed premiership players Daniel Rioli and Jack Graham for the second time this year among four changes for Wednesday night's crunch clash with the Western Bulldogs. Coach Damien Hardwick already revealed that skipper Trent Cotchin would return from his hamstring injury and that Sydney Stack would be recalled to play a midfield role. The Tigers also promoted Oleg Markov – for his first senior appearance since round three last season – and Jack Ross but dumped Patrick Naish and lost Nick Vlastuin to a calf injury. Rioli and Graham, who won only six possessions against the Giants, were also dropped after round three. Richmond sits in ninth spot and is still missing prominent members Bachar Houli, Dion Prestia, Shane Edwards, David Astbury, Toby Nankervis and Josh Caddy. - Marc McGowan
FULL TEAMS Check 'em out
The double ruck combination worked a treat against Port Adelaide and, with the seven-day break, should be given another opportunity against Sydney. Seb Ross looked sore with a calf late in the game but is expected to be right, while inclusions Jack Sinclair and Nick Hind were solid. Dean Kent and inclusion Matthew Parker were quiet, and it could force the Saints to reconsider Jack Lonie who was dropped. Josh Battle (cheekbone) will be a test, but the Saints may tread with caution with a five-day break to follow. Ryan Byrnes and Jack Bytel are waiting should a midfielder need a break, while Jonathon Marsh and Daniel McKenzie played zero and limited minutes respectively in the scratch match.
Verdict: Lonie in for Parker. - Mitch Cleary
Neither Will Hayward nor Colin O'Riordan managed to recover from injury in time to face the Hawks at the weekend. O'Riordan is doubtful again but the Swans would dearly love to regain Hayward. Lewis Melican, Joel Amartey and Hayden McLean will be available but George Hewett could miss the next two months. They promoted Sam Wicks and Irishman Barry O'Connor from category B status this week, so they are now eligible for selection. Lewis Taylor, Sam Gray and James Bell are vulnerable if some of the top-liners prove their fitness.
Verdict: Hayward (if fit) and Wicks come in for Bell and Gray. - Marc McGowan
The concerns at selection will centre on whether Jeremy McGovern is fit to play after he missed the demolition of Collingwood with a fractured thumb. Should he be passed fit, last week's inclusion Josh Rotham would likely fall out. Brendon Ah Chee missed with a back injury, and if cleared, Brayden Ainsworth is expected to be next to go. Lewis Jetta is still waiting in the wings, but half-backs Liam Duggan, Tom Cole and Jackson Nelson are in good form. Mark Hutchings played scratch match minutes as he builds his fitness back from a knee complaint but he will probably need another week.
Verdict: If fit, McGovern and Ah Chee in for Ainsworth and Rotham. - Mitch Cleary
As flagged on Tuesday, Sam Lloyd and Toby McLean will bolster the Bulldogs' line-up at the expense of Lachie Young and the injured Callum Porter (AC joint), who made his debut last week. McLean starred in a weekend scrimmage game, while Lloyd was active with two goals in the same contest after missing four games with a broken collarbone that required surgery. The Dogs have won five of their past six games – the only blip being the 52-point defeat to Carlton three weeks ago – to surge into sixth position on the ladder. - Marc McGowan
FULL TEAMS Check 'em out