WHO IS a chance to play in round five?

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 R5 ins. Check it out.

Former Greater Western Sydney midfielder Jackson Hately is pushing hard to play his first game for the Crows, impressing in the SANFL with 26 disposals and five clearances. His inclusion this week would strengthen the midfield against a Fremantle onball group that found a winning formula against Hawthorn. Prized draftee Luke Pedlar also impressed with three goals, but may need more time at SANFL level after overcoming an abdominal injury. No.2 pick Riley Thilthorpe kicked one goal in the SANFL, as did Elliott Himmelberg. Both present options this week if the match committee shake up the forward line support for Taylor Walker. Versatile Josh Worrall is yet to debut and had 20 disposals, four inside 50s and four rebounds in the SANFL.    

R4 medical substitute: David Mackay (unused)  

Verdict: Himmelberg for Billy Frampton. Hately replaces Mackay as medical substitute. – Nathan Schmook    

The Crows get around Elliott Himmelberg after a goal. Picture: AFL Photos

There's been a lot of moving parts on the injury front the past few weeks, but Chris Fagan should be able to settle his lineup down shortly. Forward Dan McStay will play football at some level this weekend after overcoming a six-week knee injury and could come straight back into consideration to play Essendon on Saturday night. Jaxon Prior and Harry Sharp impressed in the VFL practice match at the weekend.

R4 medical sub: Callum Ah Chee (unused)

Verdict: McStay for Tom Fullarton - Michael Whiting

Dan McStay could return for the Lions. Picture: AFL Photos

The Blues should finally regain Mitch McGovern for this weekend's clash against the Power, with the marking forward again kicking three goals in a VFL defeat to Box Hill on Saturday. His return will be timely, given the side is likely to lose Jack Silvagni to another shoulder injury. Zac Williams is expected to be fit, having missed Saturday night's victory over the Suns due to calf tightness. Matthew Kennedy made his first senior appearance of the year from the substitutes bench at Metricon Stadium, but Paddy Dow struggled again and was held to just eight disposals.

R4 medical substitute: Matthew Kennedy (replaced Jack Silvagni)

Verdict: McGovern and Williams to return for Silvagni and Dow. – Riley Beveridge

Mitch McGovern at Carlton training. Picture: AFL Photos

Draftee Finlay Macrae is locked to make his debut after an impressive run of games at VFL level. Darcy Cameron is also in consideration to return in an attempt to repeat his elimination final heroics against Nic Naitanui. Last week's medical sub Levi Greenwood will be an option, while Tyler Brown, who was dropped, can't be forgotten. Will Kelly is also pushing towards a return and Trey Ruscoe presents as a marking possibility. Taylor Adams (knee) is a forced out, but second-gamer Beau McCreery is expected to keep his spot. Will Hoskin-Elliott, who welcomed a new baby girl this week and missed main training, has been quiet along with Josh Thomas in recent weeks, while Callum Brown remains on the fringe. Brayden Sier will need clearance to play after being subbed out against the Giants with gastro.

R3 medical sub: Levi Greenwood (replaced Sier)

Verdict: Macrae, Cameron and Greenwood into the 22 replacing Adams, Hoskin-Elliott and Callum Brown. - Mitch Cleary

Finlay Macrae at Collingwood training in December 2020. Picture: AFL Photos

It was a strong performance from the Bombers last week at the SCG so don't expect too many changes for form reasons. Mason Redman will push to come back after hamstring tightness saw him miss last round, but it is hard to find an obvious out for him to return. Jayden Laverde and Matt Guelfi could be on the fringes. Andrew Phillips played in the VFL last week and should be considered to relieve Peter Wright of ruck duties, but it appears unlikely the Bombers would omit Wright. David Zaharakis will be pushing for a spot in the final 22 after being the unused medical substitute last week, while Ned Cahill, Martin Gleeson and Nick Bryan are others in contention.

R4 medical sub: David Zaharakis (unused)

Verdict: Unchanged. - Callum Twomey

The Bombers' form has been good the past two rounds. Picture: AFL Photos

Reinforcements are on the way for the Dockers, who could strengthen their backline with key defender Griffin Logue this week after a strong return in the WAFL. While Fremantle impressed against Hawthorn, their backline was exposed a week before against Carlton, and Logue would give them options against a white-hot Taylor Walker and Co. Forwards Mitch Crowden (calf) and Bailey Banfield (ankle) returned from injury in the WAFL, while Taylin Duman had 30 possessions on a wing with Peel Thunder and is an ideal option for the medical substitute if he can't squeeze into the 22. Lachie Schultz will have completed his 12-day return-to-play period after concussion, but it is hard to see how he gets back into the team this week if the Dockers hold Sam Sturt and continue with a two-ruck structure alongside tall Josh Treacy.

R4 medical substitute: Stefan Giro (unused)

Verdict: Logue for Tobe Watson. Duman replaces Stefan Giro as the medical substitute. – Nathan Schmook

Griffin Logue could return for the Dockers. Picture: AFL Photos

Never has the return of Patrick Dangerfield been needed more than now. The gun midfielder joins Gary Rohan back from suspension, while Brandan Parfitt should be fit after missing the loss to Melbourne with a hip complaint. Jeremy Cameron is pushing to play but might be held back for one more game. Last week's unused substitute Max Holmes will be in the frame, while Charlie Constable was good at VFL level alongside Josh Jenkins (three goals) and Darcy Fort (one). Last week's inclusion Brad Close was more lively than fellow small forward Luke Dahlhaus, and while late inclusion Quinton Narkle was solid, he'll likely be the first to fall out. Should new-found tagger Mark O'Connor swing back into defence, then Zach Guthrie's spot will be on the line.

R4 medical sub: Max Holmes (unused)

Verdict: Dangerfield, Rohan and Parfitt for Narkle, Dahlhaus and Zach Guthrie. - Mitch Cleary

00:31 Mins
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Is Paddy in MRO Danger after this bump?

Patrick Dangerfield clashes heads with Jake Kelly who's sent off the field

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Another week, another forced change through injury for the Suns. Sean Lemmens will miss Saturday's match against the Western Bulldogs after suffering concussion against Carlton. With the Dogs' three-pronged tall forward line of Aaron Naughton, Tim English and Josh Bruce, it makes sense for the Suns to bring in a tall. Veteran Jack Hombsch has played well in the VFL practice matches and should come into the frame. Jeremy Sharp could also be in consideration if Stuart Dew wants some more speed.

R4 medical sub: Sam Flanders (replaced Lemmens)

Verdict: Hombsch for Lemmens - Michael Whiting

Jack Hombsch in action. Picture: AFL Photos

Sam Reid is available after serving a two-week suspension for a high bump on Nat Fyfe. Jesse Hogan played about 80 minutes in a VFL practice match against the Swans and has pulled up well, but the Giants won’t hurry him back after his pre-season quad injury. Xavier O'Halloran could be the one to make way after having minimal impact in his two matches. Nick Shipley started the past three matches as medical sub, so might need a solid hit-out in round one of the VFL. There's also a decision to make in the ruck, with Matthew Flynn ready to return after being rested against Collingwood but it's hard to drop Shane Mumford after his impact opposed to Brodie Grundy. A lot depends on how Mumford's body pulls up after his first senior game of the season. 

R4 medical sub: Nick Shipley (unused)

Verdict: Reid into the starting 22 for O'Halloran, who replaces Shipley as medical sub. - Martin Pegan

Giants small forward Brent Daniels at training in December, 2020. Picture: Getty Images

Mitch Lewis' suspension will force Alastair Clarkson into one change, with Jacob Koschitzke, who was rested last week, the obvious replacement. Round four's unused medical sub Shaun Burgoyne should also be recalled, with emergencies Damon Greaves and James Cousins in the frame along with Ollie Hanrahan and Conor Nash who are pushing at VFL level. Michael Hartley was included against Fremantle, but his spot will be assessed against a more dynamic Melbourne attack, while Tyler Brockman was quiet again. Daniel Howe's shoulder injury will also need to be assessed.

 R4 medical sub: Shaun Burgoyne (unused)

Verdict: Burgyone, Koschitzke and Hanrahan return for Hartley, Lewis and Brockman who might just need a rest. Cousins in should Howe miss through injury. - Mitch Cleary

Shaun Burgoyne in action against Geelong in round three, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The Demons will be forced into at least one change for this Sunday's clash against the Hawks, with Steven May to be sidelined for up to a month due to a nasty eye injury. Simon Goodwin has earmarked youngster Harrison Petty as a like-for-like replacement, categorically ruling out a return to the backline for Tom McDonald in the process. Aside from that, the unbeaten Dees look settled. Don't expect many more changes, with Ben Brown and Sam Weideman to again line up for Casey in the VFL this weekend. Mitch Brown kicked three goals in a practice match victory over Williamstown on Saturday, but remains on the fringes of the best team.

R4 medical substitute: Tom Sparrow (replaced Steven May)

Verdict: Petty to complete his return from 18 months out of the game, replacing May. – Riley Beveridge

Harrison Petty at Melbourne training. Picture: AFL Photos

There will be a number of changes at the Kangaroos. Ben Cunnington is suspended, though he is fighting that charge at the Tribunal on Tuesday night, with his potential absence adding to the side's midfield woes. Given they are already without the hobbled Jed Anderson, the Roos might hand Dom Tyson a recall to add some senior experience into their engine room. Luke McDonald will miss through a pectoral injury, opening the door for Atu Bosenavulagi to make his club debut against the Cats. Lachie Young could be another option, having been introduced as the medical substitute against the Crows. Josh Walker should return from a minor hamstring injury to replace Cameron Zurhaar, who has been put in the AFL's 12-day concussion protocols. That would mean Tom Campbell retains his place to give the side another marking target in attack. Curtis Taylor is another option, should the Kangaroos elect for a smaller forward line. Aidan Corr is an outside chance to return from a toe injury, but that’s unlikely, while Trent Dumont should return from a calf problem through the VFL.

R4 medical substitute: Lachie Young (replaced Luke McDonald)

Verdict: Tyson, Bosenavulagi and Walker to return for Cunnington, McDonald and Zurhaar, with Young and Taylor providing alternate options. – Riley Beveridge

Dom Tyson could be in for a Roos recall. Picture: AFL Photos

Nursing significant injuries to young guns Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma, the Power will have multiple changes for their clash against Carlton. Miles Bergman is a likely inclusion after being squeezed out of the 22 after the opening two rounds. Tall forward Todd Marshall was a late withdrawal against Richmond and was replaced by Peter Ladhams. If fit, Marshall should return in a like-for-like change. Ruckman Sam Hayes continues to shine at SANFL level and had 33 hit-outs, six clearances and six inside 50s at the weekend. It is difficult to see how the Power fit him in at this stage, despite his impressive performances. Boyd Woodcock (23 disposals, five inside 50s and a goal in the SANFL), Jackson Mead (22 and five clearances) could come in for Butters, while midfielder Tom Rockliff is available after missing the past fortnight.

R4 medical substitute: Sam Mayes (replaced Zak Butters)  

Verdict: Marshall, Bergman and Woodcock for Ladhams, Duursma and Butters. Mead to replace Mayes as medical substitute. – Nathan Schmook  

Todd Marshall could be back for the Power. Picture: AFL Photos


The Tigers swung the changes after their round three loss to Sydney, so will they do the same after last week's defeat to Port Adelaide? Expect Kamdyn McIntosh to come back on the wing after recovering from his concussion, while Damien Hardwick also hinted on Tuesday that Daniel Rioli could return after a strong VFL performance. Josh Caddy will also be a chance after being the unused medical substitute last week. Pat Naish, Riley Collier-Dawkins and Mabior Chol will be others considered, as will Derek Eggmolesse-Smith, who was dropped last week, while first-gamers Rhyan Mansell and Will Martyn could fall out.

R4 medical sub: Josh Caddy (unused)

Verdict: McIntosh and Rioli in for Mansell and Martyn. - Callum Twomey

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Tiger utility knocked out in heavy collision

Kamdyn McIntosh is helped off the field after this clash with Dane Rampe

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Rowan Marshall is the biggest query off the five-day break after injuring his plantar fascia in the win over West Coast. Marshall was on reduced duties at training on Tuesday and will face a fitness test in order to tackle Richmond. Jake Carlisle more than held his own last week in a new-found ruck role but may be looked at, along with Dan McKenzie who performed well late. Jack Lonie is another whose spot might be up for discussion, but Jack Bytel was a strong contributor after winning his spot back. Shaun McKernan will be in the frame should Marshall not recover, while last week's medical sub Ben Long will be around the mark. Darragh Joyce (defence) and Mason Wood (forward) are waiting in the wings if Brett Ratten wants extra height.

R3 medical sub: Ben Long (unused)

Verdict: Unchanged... unless McKernan is required to replace Marshall. - Mitch Cleary

The Saints will be hoping Rowan Marshall is good to go. Picture: AFL Photos

Co-captain Dane Rampe had surgery on Monday on a finger broken in training before the round three win over Richmond. Lewis Melican was best-on-ground in a VFL practice match against the Giants and seems the likely replacement for Rampe. Isaac Heeney broke a bone in his right hand against Essendon and will miss 2-3 weeks. He was replaced by James Bell who might get an opportunity to start in the 22 after being medical sub the past two games. James Rowbottom should come straight back in after recovering from a knee issue and training well. Will Hayward and Dylan Stephens have been pressing their claims in VFL practice matches.

R4 medical sub: James Bell (replaced Isaac Heeney)

Verdict: Melican and Rowbottom into the starting 22 for Rampe and Heeney. Hayward in as medical sub, allowing Bell to play a full game in the VFL. - Martin Pegan

James Rowbottom in action for the Swans. Picture: AFL Photos

Alex Witherden is favoured to play his first game for the Eagles as a replacement for injured former skipper Shannon Hurn. Luke Foley is also in the mix, however, and put together a strong pre-season that will encourage the match committee to look closely at him this week. Witherden had 27 disposals in the WAFL, while midfielder Brayden Ainsworth was prolific with 37, but he may need to string form together to break in. Midfielder Xavier O'Neill was left out as a replacement for Luke Shuey last week but should be considered to add speed to a midfield that was well beaten by St Kilda in round four.

R4 medical substitute: Isiah Winder (replaced Shannon Hurn) 

Verdict: Witherden and O'Neill for Hurn and Jamaine Jones. Zac Langdon replaces Isiah Winder as the medical substitute. – Nathan Schmook 

New Eagle Alex Witherden in action against Fremantle in the AAMI Community Series. Picture: AFL Photos

There will be at least one change for the Dogs this week after Caleb Daniel accepted his one-game suspension for a dangerous tackle last week. Patrick Lipinski was left out of the 22 for the second straight match and made the medical sub against the Lions last week and could come in, while Hayden Crozier is pushing for a return to the side after a quicker than expected recovery from his AC joint injury. Lin Jong and Ben Cavarra will also be in consideration to come into the line-up. Anthony Scott was quiet last round as was Laitham Vandermeer, but the Dogs have been keen to keep a settled side as they start the year unbeaten through the first month.

R4 medical sub: Patrick Lipinski (unused)

Verdict: Lipinski in for Daniel. - Callum Twomey

Patrick Lipinski in action against the Bombers. Picture: AFL Photos