WHO IS a chance to play in round four?
In this week's In the Mix 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 R4 ins. Check it out.
Injury-free and coming off their second win in three weeks, Adelaide could easily decide to remain unchanged for Sunday's clash against North Melbourne, aside from their medical substitute. If they do make changes, second-year swingman Josh Worrell appears most likely to break into the team on form after an impressive SANFL performance with 20 disposals and four rebound 50s. Midfielder recruit Jackson Hately returned in the SANFL from a groin injury and was impressive with 25 possessions, 10 marks and six inside 50s to push his case. Defender Fischer McAsey was solid in defence. If Billy Frampton (five disposals and no goals) finds himself under pressure, the Crows could consider debuting No.2 draft pick Riley Thilthorpe at Marvel Stadium. They won't want substitute Nick Murray to miss out on game time for two straight weeks. – Nathan Schmook
R3 medical substitute: Nick Murray (unused)
Verdict: Unchanged. Josh Worrell replaces Nick Murray as medical substitute. – Nathan Schmook
Another week of tough decisions for the Lions with regular first 22 players coming back in the frame from injury for Saturday's game against the Western Bulldogs at Ballarat. If Oscar McInerney overcomes his ankle injury, he's an automatic 'in', but that's still an iffy proposition. After hiccups late last week Darcy Gardiner and Jarrod Berry should be fine to return, while small defender Noah Answerth has served his two-match VFL suspension and is available. Squeezing players out of the team that beat Collingwood is difficult.
R2 medical sub: Jaxon Prior (unused)
Verdict: Gardiner, J.Berry and McInerney in for Payne, Robertson and Ballenden. - Michael Whiting
The Blues could welcome back Will Setterfield for this weekend's trip to Gold Coast after he was a late withdrawal on Sunday due to illness, though his replacement Matt Cottrell was relatively impressive against the Dockers. Mitch McGovern could also return to the side after he proved his fitness following a back injury with three goals in three quarters during a VFL practice match on Saturday. David Cuningham and Liam Stocker were also impressive in that game, while Tom Williamson was best on ground after being dropped from the senior team. Levi Casboult was quiet in attack against the Dockers, but provides a reliable second ruck option. Paddy Dow and Eddie Betts also didn't see much of it, but are worth persisting with. It could lead to an interesting selection dilemma for David Teague in his forward line.
R3 medical sub: Oscar McDonald (unused)
Verdict: McGovern to replace Dow as the Blues favour a taller forward set-up, with Setterfield returning through the VFL. - Riley Beveridge
Draftee Finlay Macrae continues to press his claims for an early season debut and was one of the Pies' best in a VFL practice match with Richmond on Saturday. The midfielder joined Darcy Cameron as standouts against the Tigers, while Levi Greenwood mounted his case and second-year forward Trey Ruscoe booted two goals. Unused medical sub Beau McCreery will also be in the frame. Will Hoskin-Elliott was quiet in the narrow loss to the Lions, Callum Brown remains on the fringe and Josh Thomas could be looked at. Tyler Brown and Chris Mayne might also be fighting for one spot in weeks to come.
R3 medical sub: Beau McCreery (unused)
Verdict: McCreery and Ruscoe for Hoskin-Elliott and Callum Brown. - Mitch Cleary
Don't expect too many changes for the Bombers' trip to Sydney after they thrashed St Kilda on Saturday. Mason Redman was pulled out of the win over the Saints with a hamstring injury and he could be replaced by Dyson Heppell across half-back if the skipper is deemed fit after his back injury. David Zaharakis will also put his hand up for selection after playing at VFL level for the past two weeks after returning from off-season knee surgery.
R1 medical sub: Tom Cutler (used)
Verdict: Heppell in for Redman. – Callum Twomey
A return for captain Nat Fyfe is "looking really promising", according to coach Justin Longmuir, after one match sidelined with concussion. He'll need to pass all required testing this week and could be thrown into the midfield to fix a contest deficiency against the Blues. The forward line should be bolstered in his absence there by rookie Josh Treacy and talented medium forward Sam Sturt, who booted five goals in his WAFL return and boasts aerial strength. Retaining a two-pronged ruck structure would allow Sean Darcy and Lloyd Meek to rotate forward and add height in front of goals while also competing against the Hawks' twin run attack. If Griffin Logue is fit he could replace injured Hayden Young and bolster a backline that lacked height and options against Carlton. Lachie Schultz suffered concussion symptoms and will likely make way, but unforced changes are also likely after a disappointing performance. – Nathan Schmook
R3 medical substitute: Liam Henry (replaced Hayden Young)
Verdict: Fyfe, Sturt, Treacy and Logue replace Young, Schultz, Blake Acres and Travis Colyer, who replaces Liam Henry as the medical substitute. – Nathan Schmook
Will Mark O'Connor tag for a third consecutive week and go to Melbourne's Christian Petracca on Sunday? Should he instead return to the backline, a defensive teammate may have to fall out if Jack Henry isn't used as a forward again. The Cats are set to be forced into two changes with Shaun Higgins (hamstring) and Francis Evans (ankle) injured. Luke Dahlhaus was again quiet against the Hawks, but debutant Max Holmes looked up to the level. Sam Menegola (shoulder) is in to return and Brad Close is edging towards a recall after a pre-season foot setback. Medical sub Charlie Constable impressed when given the chance but wasn't used much after half-time. Josh Jenkins and Ben Jarvis remain around the mark after five and four goals respectively a fortnight ago in the VFL. Gun recruit Jeremy Cameron will be pushing to play but appears another week off.
R3 medical sub: Charlie Constable (replaced Evans)
Verdict: Jenkins as an extra marking target alongside Menegola and Close in place of Higgins, Evans and Dahlhaus. - Mitch Cleary
The knee injury to skipper Jarrod Witts has thrown the Suns into a ruck crisis ahead of Saturday night's home match against Carlton. The likely move is to put Chris Burgess into the ruck, as he was in the final term against Adelaide, and bring lively Josh Corbett in to bolster the forward line. Key defender Caleb Graham rucked as a junior and could lend support, while coach Stuart Dew could also opt to go without a second tall forward and add another midfielder like Brayden Fiorini.
R2 medical sub: Nick Holman (replaced Witts)
Verdict: Corbett for Witts. - Michael Whiting
The injuries are mounting up for the Giants, losing three key players in the loss to Melbourne. Scans on Tuesday are expected to confirm captain Stephen Coniglio will be sidelined for a long stretch with an ankle injury, while defender Phil Davis and midfielder Matt de Boer will be out for a few weeks. Harry Perryman should return after missing the trip to Canberra due to illness. Lachlan Keeffe could move back into defence to cover Davis, giving young forward Jake Riccardi an opportunity now he’s recovered from an ankle injury. Jesse Hogan is close to a return, but is expected to have a hit-out in the VFL first.
R3 medical sub: Nick Shipley (replaced Davis)
Verdict: Perryman, Shipley and Riccardi into the 22, to replace the injured Coniglio, Davis and de Boer. Matt Buntine drops to medical sub. - Martin Pegan
Alastair Clarkson was non-committal on his key forwards in the aftermath of the loss to Geelong, so medical sub Tim O'Brien will come into the reckoning. Jacob Koschitzke was held to four disposals, but Mitch Lewis threatened in his first game of the season. Tyler Brockman lacked impact but should be given another opportunity, while Daniel Howe could be looked at. And could this be the week Shaun Burgoyne is rested with a trip to face Fremantle off a six-day break? Carryover emergency Ollie Hanrahan will again be in the frame, while James Cousins was strong in a VFL practice match in which second-year tall Emerson Jeka kicked six goals. Connor Downie also remains in the conversation.
R3 medical sub: Tim O'Brien (unused)
Verdict: Cousins for Burgoyne. Clarkson to back Koschitzke in for one more week. - Mitch Cleary
The Demons are rolling and enter this weekend's clash with the Cats full of form and momentum. Therefore, don't expect many changes. The side has liked to rotate their medical substitutes, especially given they are yet to use one after three weeks, so Jake Melksham could either come into the 22 or play VFL to get some footy under his belt. Jay Lockhart is also on the cusp of a return after suffering a nasty testicle injury. Tom Sparrow was relatively quiet against the Giants, but don't expect Simon Goodwin to make too many alterations to a winning formula.
R3 medical sub: Jake Melksham (unused)
Verdict: Melksham to get his first taste of senior footy this year, replacing Sparrow. - Riley Beveridge
There's plenty for the Kangaroos to consider after suffering a 128-point hammering on Good Friday. Jed Anderson and Jared Polec are in doubt after failing to finish that match due to ankle and hamstring injuries respectively, but the injury burden could be eased by Aiden Bonar's likely return from an adductor problem. Luke McDonald is also on the cusp of proving his fitness following a quad issue, while Curtis Taylor should return from concussion protocol. Aidan Corr is unlikely to play due to a foot infection, while Trent Dumont is also an outside chance to return from a calf issue. There are plenty who could find themselves under pressure ahead of this weekend's clash with the Crows, with Kayne Turner and Jack Mahony among them. Atu Bosenavulagi continues to impress as a defender in the VFL.
R3 medical sub: Kyron Hayden (replaced Jared Polec)
Verdict: Bonar, McDonald and Taylor to come in, replacing the injured Anderson and Polec and the omitted Mahony. - Riley Beveridge
Ruckman Sam Hayes was best afield in the SANFL and has timed his run well, with Peter Ladhams disappointing against West Coast with five disposals and no marks. A debut for the fourth-year ruckman could be considered but is also a gamble against Richmond on Friday night. Ken Hinkley sounded like a coach keen to give his team the chance to respond to a poor performance. The tall pairing of Mitch Georgiades with Todd Marshall was one element of the Power's game that worked, but they were exposed at the other end of the ground in defence. Unused substitute Miles Bergman should return after playing the opening two rounds, while Trent McKenzie is fit and available but yet to be seen after being a backline mainstay in 2020. Sam Mayes had 28 possessions in the SANFL, while Jarrod Lienert had 26. Tom Rockliff will be unavailable after suffering concussion in the SANFL.
R3 medical substitute: Miles Bergman (unused)
Verdict: Hayes and Bergman for Ladhams and Hartlett, who replaces Bergman as the medical substitute. – Nathan Schmook
The Tigers are set for a busy week at selection with at least two forced changes out of their loss to Sydney. Dion Prestia will miss with his hamstring injury, while Kamdyn McIntosh faces the mandatory 12 days out with concussion. The club says Trent Cotchin didn't suffer any new hamstring injury last week and remains a good chance to face the Power on Friday night, while Daniel Rioli is also on the fringes after not having a huge impact as the medical sub. Jack Ross went back to VFL level to play a full game last week after being the Tigers' sub and would be a good chance to come in, while Bachar Houli also returned at VFL level so will be strongly considered. Patrick Naish dominated on the wing in the VFL so could come in as McIntosh's replacement, while Hugo Ralphsmith is gunning for a debut and will be a chance as a half-back/wingman.
R1 medical sub: Daniel Rioli (used)
Verdict: Ross, Houli and Naish in for Prestia, McIntosh and Rioli. – Callum Twomey
Brett Ratten dropped three players following the round two defeat to Melbourne, but the Essendon shellacking was worse, and when he's using words like "embarrassing", it could be a big week at selection. Jade Gresham (Achilles) will miss the season, Bradley Hill is struggling for form, Seb Ross lacked impact and inclusions Dan McKenzie and Mason Wood could be tipped out. Zak Jones (ankle) finished the game on the bench but should be OK. The ruck pairing of Jake Carlisle and Shaun McKernan was upstaged by Peter Wright and could get a shake-up with Rowan Marshall getting through a half in a VFL practice match on Saturday. Jimmy Webster will be free to play after clearing concussion, Dean Kent has impressed in the VFL and medical substitute Ben Long will be in the conversation. Dropped trio Jack Bytel, Tom Highmore and Paul Hunter also shouldn't be forgotten.
R3 medical sub: Ben Long (replaced Gresham)
Verdict: Marshall, Webster, Long and Kent for Gresham, McKenzie, Wood and Carlisle. - Mitch Cleary
It would be practically impossible for most players to force their way into an unbeaten side that just thrashed the reigning premiers, Richmond, on their home deck. But that obviously doesn’t apply to Lance Franklin, who missed the exciting win on Saturday so he wouldn’t have to back up on a five-day break to face Essendon this Thursday. Just as he did for the round two clash with Adelaide, expect Hayden McLean to make way for Franklin. James Rowbottom is a chance to return from a knee injury he picked up in round 1, with Justin McInerney the unlucky midfielder to step aside.
R3 medical sub: James Bell (unused)
Verdict: Franklin and Rowbottom into the 22 for McLean and McInerney. McInerney to replace Bell as medical substitute. - Martin Pegan
Young midfielder Xavier O'Neill is at the front of the queue to replace captain Luke Shuey after the skipper's hamstring injury. O'Neill had 31 possessions in the WAFL and will likely compete with Zane Trew (24 and 10 tackles) for a call-up in the midfield. Forward Jake Waterman is fit and an important part of the Eagles' set-up, but Jarrod Brander's form, which should be rewarded, could keep him out for a week. It's likely the Eagles would prefer to give Waterman full game time in the WAFL in his return from injury, rather than call him up as a medical substitute this week. Ruckman Nathan Vardy booted four goals after being dropped and the Eagles won't hesitate to call him up when they need a two-pronged ruck structure to release gun youngster Oscar Allen. Defender Alex Witherden escaped suspension for striking in the WAFL and is available, but will likely find it difficult to break into the 22 this week after a near perfect West Coast performance. Zac Langdon only played a handful of minutes as the medical substitute but seems the right choice for the role again this week. – Nathan Schmook
R3 medical substitute: Zac Langdon (replaced Luke Shuey)
Verdict: Xavier O'Neill replaces Luke Shuey – Nathan Schmook
Luke Beveridge faces a choice with his defence after the early injury to backman Ryan Gardner in the Dogs' Good Friday smashing of North Melbourne. Lewis Young and Zaine Cordy are the tall defenders who would be chances to come in, or the Dogs could restructure their line-up of forwards. Small forward Ben Cavarra (four goals in the VFL) continues to bang the door down while Lin Jong is another who is close to a senior call-up, and Mitch Wallis will be keen to make his way back into the forward line as soon as possible after his surprise omission last week.
R1 medical sub: Patrick Lipinski (used)
Verdict: Young to come in for Gardner. – Callum Twomey