Adelaide Crows

Get them in: Ruckman Reilly O'Brien is a chance for his first taste of AFL action since 2016 pending the fitness of Sam Jacobs. Hugh Greenwood was solid in his second SANFL game back from an interrupted pre-season, Tyson Stengle kicked four goals in the Crows' win against Sturt and Myles Poholke had 25 disposals and three goals.

Under the pump: It's tough to make unforced changes to a winning side.

Medical room: Jacobs took a knock to his knee in a marking contest against Sydney and will be assessed this week. Josh Jenkins suffered a minor AC joint sprain in his shoulder, but will be right to play.

Verdict: O'Brien in for Jacobs. Not worth risking Jacobs in round three on a six-day turnaround. - Lee Gaskin

Brisbane Lions

Get them in: A few players keeping pressure on the top 22 with strong performances in a NEAFL practise match at the weekend, led by Lewy Taylor, Allen Christensen and Cedric Cox, but no urgency to rush anyone in.

Under the pump: Ryan Bastinac is probably always on the fringe, and although 11 disposals doesn't appear much, he helped quieten the rampant Aaron Hall – no reason he'd be under pressure at the moment.

Medical room: No fresh injuries from Sunday's win over North Melbourne, with Cam Rayner expected to overcome the corked thigh that slightly limited his game-time in the second half. 

Verdict: Like last week, no need to change a winning formula. - Michael Whiting

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Get them in: Matthew Kennedy had 30 disposals and kicked a goal to be a standout performer in a VFL practice match against North Melbourne, while Caleb Marchbank is set to be available for selection as he recovers from a back injury.

Under the pump: It's hard to find anyone under too much pressure to retain their spot at Carlton at the moment. Cam Polson came into the team this week but performed his role nicely in what was probably his best game for the club to date.

Medical room: The Blues expect David Cuningham (bruised kidneys) and Charlie Curnow (knee) to be out for much of the next month. Matthew Kreuzer remains absent due to a knee problem, but Marchbank is likely to return from a back issue.

Verdict: The Blues will consider Marchbank for an immediate return, given the VFL side isn't in action this week, while Kennedy will also push to reclaim his place in the team. Curnow and perhaps another will go out of the side to accommodate for them. - Riley Beveridge


Get them in: A fit Taylor Adams would add another gun to the Magpie midfield for the grand final rematch against West Coast at the MCG on Saturday night. Meanwhile, medium defender Flynn Appleby was the only Pie to perform strongly in a VFL practice match against Richmond.

Under the pump: Veteran speedster Travis Varcoe has started slowly, averaging just seven touches (including only two kicks) while going scoreless. It's time he got some reward for effort.

Medical room: The Pies again escaped unscathed and could regain Adams (finger).

Verdict: If forward/ruckman Mason Cox's appeal against his one-match suspension is unsuccessful on Tuesday night, Adams would take his place if available, while other options would include midfielder Callum Brown, Appleby and Rupert Wills. - Ben Collins

Midfielder Taylor Adams would be an automatic inclusion if fit. Picture: AFL Photos


Get them in: Jordan Ridley was unlucky to be dropped last week – the only change after the Bombers' shocking round one performance – so should be back in contention this round against Melbourne. If the Dons want to shake things up in defence they could look at adding Brandon Zerk-Thatcher who is close to a senior call-up, while Zac Clarke could come in for some ruck assistance against Max Gawn.

Under the pump: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti's position in the side could be shaky after two quiet games to start the season. The small forward has collected a total of only 12 touches across the first fortnight. Mark Baguley also struggled again. 

Medical room: The Bombers have a relatively fit list at the moment, which makes their form even more concerning. Key pair Cale Hooker and Joe Daniher remain out with respective calf concerns. Jayden Laverde didn't finish the game at VFL level with an ankle injury and is unlikely to be available.

Verdict: There has to be some change at Essendon given the way the side has performed in the first two weeks. Clarke could make his Essendon debut, while Ridley seems a good chance to come straight back in. - Callum Twomey

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Get them in: The Dockers opted against swapping like for like in round two when Hayden Ballantyne was forced out by a hamstring strain and instead added tall Jesse Hogan, but goalsneak Brandon Matera should be back in the mix for the looming Saints clash.

Under the pump: The Dockers looked unbalanced against the Suns and what they do with their talls will be intriguing. Big-name recruit Rory Lobb hasn't set the world on fire but provides a target. Sean Darcy didn't train last Wednesday and was beaten by Jarrod Witts. Might he be rested and Lobb sent into the ruck?

Medical room: Small forward Sam Switkowski and young defender Griffin Logue have been rehabbing hamstring injuries but could put pressure on for spots.

Verdict: Hard to predict with so many options on the table, but Matera could be recalled and Ethan Hughes might be the unfortunate fall guy in a reshuffle. ­- Travis King

Geelong Cats

Get them in: Lachie Henderson is confirmed for his first game of 2019 after being eased through the second half of last week's VFL practice match. Quinton Narkle sat out altogether ahead of the five-day break, with Zach Guthrie the carryover emergency. Ryan Abbott, Wylie Buzza, Jamaine Jones, Jordan Cunico, Sam Simpson and James Parsons all played modified minutes. 

Under the pump: Hard to drop anyone after an 80-point demolition, however Esava Ratugolea collected just six touches and a goal in his forward/ruck role.

Medical room: Jack Henry (hamstring) won't make the trip to Adelaide. Cameron Guthrie still needs to prove he's over a calf complaint, but his return may need to be through the VFL.

Verdict: Henderson for Henry. Don't rule out Abbott or Buzza for Ratugolea. Narkle next in line for any who don't respond to the five-day break. - Mitch Cleary

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Gold Coast Suns

Get them in: With quite a few on the injury list and a NEAFL team comprehensively beaten by Brisbane in a practice match on Sunday, no one is bashing the door down.

Under the pump: Number two draft pick Jack Lukosius has had a quiet first fortnight, but the young key forward should be given plenty of time to find his feet and is under no genuine pressure. 

Medical room: George Horlin-Smith was a late withdrawal with some back tightness last week and will need to prove his fitness to be available to play the Bulldogs. 

Verdict: After a rousing victory over Fremantle and with no fresh injuries, there's nothing to be gained by making changes. - Michael Whiting

GWS Giants

Get them in: Star midfielder Josh Kelly could be a chance to face Richmond in his first game for the year, while Toby Greene (calf) could also be fit to take on the Tigers. Ruckman Shane Mumford is free to play after serving his club suspension.

Under the pump: With Mumford all but certain to return, Dawson Simpson will likely make way, while Matt Buntine or Daniel Lloyd might be the unlucky options to go out for Kelly.

Medical room: Kelly will need to train well all week to prove he's ready to go, as will Greene, while co-captain Callan Ward is another week or two away with a knee injury. Young defender Sam Taylor (hamstrings) will be monitored after he failed to finish last week's loss to West Coast.

Verdict: Mumford comes back for his first game since the 2017 qualifying final loss to Adelaide and replaces Simpson, with Kelly in for Taylor, who won't be risked. - Adam Curley


Get them in: Defender David Mirra responded well to being dropped, performing strongly in a VFL practice match over the weekend. Forward Mitchell Lewis was also solid. But with the injuries to Shaun Burgoyne and Liam Shiels, coach Alastair Clarkson could turn to Harrison Jones, Teia Miles or Dylan Moore. Midfielder Dan Howe has also played at VFL level as he continues to build fitness and could be another option should the club deem him ready to go.

Under the pump:  Conor Nash has shown glimpses and his tackling pressure is usually a standout of his game, but against the Dogs he laid just one tackle and had eight disposals. He certainly is still a developing player and could benefit from some time in the VFL. In saying that, he's unlikely to be dropped with a couple of injuries to key Hawks.

Medical room:  Burgoyne and Shiels both suffered hamstring injuries in the second half of the loss to the Bulldogs and will miss this weekend.

Verdict: Two forced changes, with Jones a key contender. - Nat Edwards

Harrison Jones may be in line for a surprise debut in the absence of key midfielders. Picture: AFL Photos


Get them in: Melbourne will be forced to make at least one change with Steven May (groin) ruled out for Friday night's game against the Bombers. Marty Hore and Josh Wagner are leading the charge to fill that spot in defence. Billy Stretch, Declan Keilty, Corey Wagner and Braydon Preuss will also be considered.

Under the pump: Tom Sparrow and Alex Neal-Bullen were quiet against Geelong and the Demons may decide they need to rejig their line-up after two poor showings. Christian Petracca is unlikely to be dropped, but he is badly out of form and needs a confidence boost.

Medical room: May will miss at least this week's game, with more to be known about the extent of his groin injury in the coming days.

Verdict: Josh Wagner for May, Corey Wagner for Sparrow and Stretch for Neal-Bullen. - Ben Guthrie

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North Melbourne

Get them in: The calls for Paul Ahern grow louder by the week and he impressed at VFL level, but his selection could depend on coaches' belief he is improving his defensive efforts in transition. Tom Murphy is another in good form, as is first-year forward Curtis Taylor. Nathan Hrovat is always in the mix.

Under the pump: Bailey Scott was quiet second-up, but he was struck down by gastro ahead of the Brisbane game. The ones to watch include Jy Simpkin, Luke McDonald, Shaun Atley, Kayne Turner and possibly Dom Tyson. Tarryn Thomas looked OK on debut as a late inclusion, but could be squeezed out.

Medical room: Jed Anderson (hamstring) and Sam Wright (quad) are nearing full fitness, while Trent Dumont (calf tightness) was a late withdrawal last week. Marley Williams (ankle) needs to prove his fitness as well, while Taylor Garner (groin) didn't play in the Roos' weekend VFL hit-out.

Verdict: Dumont will return if he's fit, but it'll be interesting to see what happens if Anderson and Wright are available. If they aren't ready, look for Ahern and Murphy to play. Simpkin and McDonald could be headed back to the VFL. Marc McGowan

Calls for the return of midfielder Paul Ahern are growing stronger. Picture: AFL Photos

Port Adelaide

Get them in: Ollie Wines (shoulder) and Hamish Hartlett (knee) are expected to return this week. Jack Trengove (44 disposals) and Sam Gray (34 touches, four goals) were outstanding in Port's SANFL win against West Adelaide. Dougal Howard will be a chance if the Power want to replace the injured Jack Watts with a tall defender, while Sam Mayes can play on a wing to replace the injured Karl Amon.

Under the pump: Tall forward Todd Marshall has kicked one goal in two games.

Medical room: Watts faces a significant stint on the sidelines with a broken leg and ankle damage, while Amon has medial damage to his knee. 

Verdict: Wines and Hartlett for Watts and Amon. - Lee Gaskin


Get them in: Draftee midfielder Jack Ross impressed in the VFL for the second week in a row, finishing with 30 disposals in a practice match against Collingwood. Ryan Garthwaite finished his second VFL game with ice on a corked thigh, while key position player Noah Balta was omitted from the AFL side with an eye on giving him a few games in defence before bringing him back into the ones.

Under the pump: Half-back flanker Oleg Markov struggled in his first AFL game since 2017, thrown forward in the last term and playing out of the goalsquare. The forward who he swapped positions with, Mav Weller, also had a very quiet game.

Medical room: Three-time Coleman medallist Jack Riewoldt will miss at least four weeks after injuring his wrist, but has escaped surgery. Hard-running defender Bachar Houli will miss a second week with a hamstring strain.

Verdict: Key forward Callum Moore has traditionally been the next goalkicker in the side and should come in for Riewoldt. Markov may make way if Richmond want an additional tall defender in Garthwaite. - Sarah Black

Callum Moore may be the replacement for the injured Jack Riewoldt. Picture: AFL Photos

St Kilda

Get them in: Young midfielder Hunter Clark was Sandringham's top ball-winner with 23 disposals in a game that copped heavy rain, while defender Logan Austin had 19. Up forward, Robbie Young booted two goals and Ben Long slotted one.

Under the pump: Dean KentLuke Dunstan and Blake Acres would want to improve on their performances against Essendon, while a tall Fremantle forward line and a desire to keep Josh Bruce out of relief ruck duties might save Callum Wilkie.

Medical room: Big man Rowan Marshall was limping at the end of the Bombers clash but he should be fine.

Verdict: Clark for Dunstan. - Dinny Navaratnam

Sydney Swans

Get them in: Kieren Jack (knee) and Tom McCartin (concussion) both played in a second straight NEAFL scratch match last week and found some form, with Jackson Thurlow and draftees James Rowbottom and Justin McInerney also prominent.

Under the pump: Young forward Ben Ronke had a quiet night against Adelaide in his first game of the year, as did off-season recruit Ryan Clarke, who hasn't carried his pre-season form into the first two games.

Medical room: Veteran Heath Grundy (back) looks only a slim chance of proving his fitness after missing last week's loss to the Crows, but Isaac Heeney (ankle) is right to go but will be playing sore again.

Verdict: McCartin returns for his first game this year, along with the experienced Jack, in place of Ronke and Clarke. - Adam Curley

West Coast Eagles

Get them in: Star midfielder Andrew Gaff has finally served his eight-game suspension and could be joined back in the line-up by small forward Jamie Cripps after a successful WAFL comeback from toe surgery. 

Under the pump: He did nothing wrong on club debut but ex-Pies runner Josh Smith is likely to make way for Gaff, while young half-forward Daniel Venables might miss out if Cripps is ready to go for the Grand Final rematch with Collingwood.

Medical room: There is a watch on young backman Liam Duggan after he hurt his knee against the Giants, but premiership defender Will Schofield is ready to go after starring on return from a corked quad in the WAFL.

Verdict: Gaff and Cripps to return from Smith and Venables, and Schofield in for Duggan if he doesn't come up. – Travis King

Andrew Gaff will be back after his long suspension, which included missing the premiership. Picture: AFL Photos

Western Bulldogs

Get thein: Patrick Lipinski proved his worth with another standout VFL performance against Williamstown on Saturday. The 20-year-old had 32 disposals and kicked a goal in Footscray's seven-point practice match win at Whitten Oval, backing up his 36-possession effort from the week prior. Father-son Rhylee West was a notable contributor with 19 touches, while Bailey Dale returned from injury and booted two goals.

Under the pump: Lipinski's outstanding form is creating selection pressure. Ed Richards is more of a line-breaker but with star runner Jason Johannisen also approaching full fitness, the 19-year-old might end up in a scrap to keep his place, with pressure from multiple angles.

Medical room: Bailey Williams was a late omission on Sunday and replaced by Lewis Young. Coach Luke Beveridge said post-match the defender had been rested with an eye on upcoming fixtures and should return this week. Liam Picken announced his immediate retirement on Monday following persistent concussion symptoms, while Johannisen and Tom Boyd are still on the mend.

Verdict: Williams to return in a straight swap with Young. Lipinski has done everything right in the past fortnight but it might not be enough to change a healthy, winning formula. Expect only one alteration. - Paul Bastin