WHO IS a chance to play in round six?
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 R6 ins. Check it out.
Forward Elliot Himmelberg and midfield recruit Jackson Hately have been on the verge of selection for their first games this season, and this could be the week for both. Himmelberg was among the best in the SANFL with 10 marks (five contested) and three goals. He is a clear option if Billy Frampton needs a spell in the SANFL after a goalless month. Hately, who would boost the midfield, didn't feature in a big SANFL loss and was an emergency at AFL level. He could replace Shane McAdam, who had four disposals coming off an SC joint sprain, if the Crows choose to rest the talented forward. Tariek Newchurch (three goals) impressed at State-league level.
R5 medical sub: Nick Murray (unused)
Verdict: Himmelberg for Frampton. David Mackay replaces Murray as sub. – Nathan Schmook
A couple of injury niggles will determine whether the Lions make any changes to take on Carlton at Marvel Stadium on Saturday. Jarrod Berry (adductor) and Oscar McInerney (ankle) were on light duties on Tuesday and will be given until later in the week to prove their fitness. Rhys Mathieson was terrific in the VFL, as was Connor Ballenden, while Dev Robertson and Harry Sharp could come into consideration as like-for-like wing replacements if Berry does not get up.
R4 medical sub: Tom Berry (replaced Jarrod Berry)
Verdict: Unchanged - Michael Whiting
Expect changes after a disappointing loss to the Power last week. Former first-round pick Liam Stocker should be included against the Lions, having won 38 disposals and 13 marks as well as kicking a nice goal while playing across half-back in a narrow VFL loss to Southport on Saturday. He could replace Tom Williamson, who struggled on Saturday night and was shifted forward late in the game. Matt Owies kicked four goals in the VFL and has been close for a while. He could compete with David Cuningham for a spot, after he had 28 disposals and a goal in the reserves. Will Setterfield didn't necessarily bang the door down for selection, winning just 14 touches in the VFL clash. Could the Blues consider resting veteran forward Eddie Betts after three straight games?
R5 medical sub: Paddy Dow (unusued)
Verdict: Stocker and Cuningham to replace Williamson and Betts, with Owies an outside chance of earning a recall. – Riley Beveridge
Nathan Buckley will be forced into at least four changes with Jeremy Howe (hamstring), Mark Keane (suspension), Jordan De Goey and Levi Greenwood (both concussion) to miss. Callum Brown and Darcy Cameron also remain on the fringe and Chris Mayne is sore, while the Pies face a decision on where to play Darcy Moore. Mason Cox kicked two goals in the VFL and is back in the frame alongside Will Hoskin-Elliott who was managed for the trip west following the birth of his daughter. Medical sub Brayden Sier and travelling emergency Trey Ruscoe will be considered, as will Tyler Brown, Jay Rantall, Ollie Henry and Nathan Murphy. Will Kelly was thrown into defence in a potential sign of what's to come.
R5 medical sub: Brayden Sier (replaced De Goey)
Verdict: Sier, Hoskin-Elliott, Kelly and Murphy for Greenwood, De Goey, Howe and Keane. Kelly and Murphy to play roles down back and Moore to start forward again. - Mitch Cleary
The Bombers will have to replace Jordan Ridley after he left the field early in last week's loss to Brisbane with concussion. They could decide to keep his replacement, Matt Guelfi, in the starting 22 and go that way, but are likely to look for a tall to cover Ridley's absence, with Brandon Zerk-Thatcher impressing in the VFL after being omitted from the senior side. They will also look at their rucks, with Andrew Phillips and Nick Bryan in form at VFL level and Peter Wright struggling for impact in the AFL line-up. Veteran David Zaharakis is also a possible inclusion.
R5 medical sub: Guelfi (used)
Verdict: Zerk-Thatcher for Ridley. - Callum Twomey
A midfield spot is up for grabs after Adam Cerra (ankle) was injured in a terrific win against Adelaide, and substitute Mitch Crowden is favoured to land it. Crowden did some nice things once activated against Adelaide and could come into the 22 with the flexibility to play forward or midfield. Midfielder Darcy Tucker returned from a long-term hamstring injury through the WAFL reserves but may require another week. Forward Sam Sturt returned to Peel Thunder and booted two goals, with Liam Henry (16 and one), Connor Blakely (25 and three clearances) and Stefan Giro (18 and four score involvements) also available. Tall forward Josh Treacy should be retained and given another week to find his place at AFL level after a quiet second game.
R5 medical sub: Mitch Crowden (replaced Adam Cerra)
Verdict: Crowden for Cerra. Giro as the medical sub. – Nathan Schmook
Jeremy Cameron is locked to make his Cats debut, while Mark O'Connor should return from a heel injury. Esava Ratugolea now has two games under his belt at VFL level and it wouldn't shock if the Cats threw him in despite his limited preparation from a fractured leg. Zach Guthrie (27 disposals) Charlie Constable (26), Max Holmes (22), Darcy Fort (17 hitouts, 18 dispsoals), Josh Jenkins and Ben Jarvis (both four goals) also put their hand up. Jordan Clark was the unused medical sub last week and Quinton Narkle was the carryover emergency. Sam De Koning is likely to fall out, however it's hard to see Luke Dahlhaus getting dropped with his increased output. Rhys Stanley is another out of form, while Jack Henry, Tom Atkins and Jake Kolodjashnij appear the most vulnerable in defence. Patrick Dangerfield should be OK despite a late ankle injury against the Roos.
R5 medical sub: Jordan Clark (unused)
Verdict: Cameron and O'Connor for De Koning and an unlucky Atkins. Henry and Kolodjashnij to be prioritised given the Eagles' height in attack. - Mitch Cleary
In a rare week for the Suns, there will be no forced changes through injury to play Sydney on Saturday. They will however get Charlie Ballard (ankle) and Sean Lemmens (concussion) back providing they have no hiccups later in the week. Ballard's return should push Caleb Graham back into the ruck and Chris Burgess forward as his back-up.
R4 medical sub: Sam Flanders (unused)
Verdict: Ballard and Lemmens for Macpherson and Harbrow - Michael Whiting
The Giants have found some good form so won’t want to make too many changes, but Sam Reid will miss a couple of weeks after injuring his hamstring and being subbed out against the Swans. Harry Perryman is in line to return from illness and just needs to train well on Wednesday to be considered. Shane Mumford was influential again, especially in the crucial final term when Sydney’s Tom Hickey was subbed out of the game. The Giants have to decide between selecting the veteran ruckman for a third consecutive match, or bringing back Matt Flynn for his fourth game. Draftee Tanner Bruhn was a standout in the VFL with 24 disposals and two goals, while Nick Shipley picked up 21 touches and could add much-needed midfield depth against the Bulldogs. Jesse Hogan kicked three goals in the reserves and will be pushing Jake Riccardi, who has kicked two goals in two matches, for senior selection.
R5 medical sub: Matt Buntine (replaced Sam Reid)
Verdict: Flynn and Perryman into the starting 22 for Mumford and Reid. Shipley to replace Buntine as medical sub. - Martin Pegan
Mitch Lewis is available after suspension, while Tyler Brockman is back in the fold after he was rested against Melbourne. Jon Ceglar was dumped last week and will now miss up to a month after hurting his ankle in the VFL. Emerson Jeka (three goals) continues to put his name forward, while medical sub James Cousins and defender Damon Greaves are again in the frame. Ollie Hanrahan was among the Hawks' best against the Demons, but fellow inclusions Conor Nash (five disposals) and Jacob Koschitzke (nine) were quiet. Daniel Howe (11 disposals) lacked impact, while Tim O'Brien remains on the fringe.
R5 medical sub: James Cousins (unused)
Verdict: Lewis and Cousins for Nash and Howe. - Mitch Cleary
It's all up in the air for the Demons. Sam Weideman should return from a fractured leg after kicking seven goals in a VFL clash with Box Hill, while Trade Period recruit Ben Brown is also likely to be selected after finishing with three goals in that same match. With fellow forward Bayley Fritsch having recovered from hand surgery, who comes out of their potent attacking unit? Mitch Brown would be stiff to miss after kicking two goals against the Hawks last week, but it appears likely. Jake Melksham could be in a similar boat after finishing with three majors on Sunday. Tom McDonald was almost best on ground and is set to feature higher up the field as a result of Weideman and Ben Brown's impending return. Steven May could also feature against the Tigers after a speedy recovery from a fractured eye socket, with Harrison Petty likely to come out of the team if so. Neville Jetta had 25 disposals and 10 marks in the reserves in an impressive response to being dropped, but Michael Hibberd was good on Sunday afternoon and should keep his place.
R5 medical sub: Tom Sparrow (unused)
Verdict: Weideman and Ben Brown to replace Mitch Brown and Melksham, with McDonald used higher up the ground and with Fritsch given another week to recover from hand surgery. May to replace Petty if fit. – Riley Beveridge
The Kangaroos should get some familiar faces back for this weekend's clash with the Dockers. Luke Davies-Uniacke is set to recover from a corked calf to play, while Cameron Zurhaar will also be available should he pass the AFL's concussion protocols. Aidan Corr is an outside chance to prove his fitness following a toe injury, while Taylor Garner kicked two goals in a VFL defeat to Geelong and is close to earning a recall. Aaron Hall will miss through concussion, while youngster Charlie Lazzaro could be rested after feeling his hamstring against the Cats. However, coach David Noble might want to start building some continuity after a competitive display at GMHBA Stadium, so don't expect too many alterations.
R5 medical sub: Curtis Taylor (replaced Aaron Hall)
Verdict: Davies-Uniacke and Zurhaar to return for Hall and Lazzaro, with Garner getting closer. – Riley Beveridge
Port could be forced to make two changes this week, with Hamish Hartlett (thigh) and Dan Houston (AC joint) facing fitness tests. If they are unavailable, the Power could draw on Willem Drew, who was activated as the medical sub last week, and defender Trent McKenzie, who was an emergency against Carlton and had eight rebound 50s in the SANFL. Midfielder Tom Rockliff (41 disposals in the SANFL) is available if midfield support is needed, but Sam Powell-Pepper looks likely to remain at State-league level for at least another week. The prospect of two rucks is unlikely, but Sam Hayes (15 disposals and 26 hit-outs) is building nicely in the SANFL.
R5 medical sub: Willem Drew (replaced Houston)
Verdict: Drew and McKenzie for Hartlett and Houston. – Nathan Schmook
It is hard to see the Tigers making too many changes this week after their thrashing of St Kilda last Thursday unless Dion Prestia makes a quicker than expected recovery from his hamstring. They've also had a long break to refresh ahead of their clash with Melbourne on Anzac Day eve. After being the unused substitute, Jack Ross staked his claim for a return with 34 disposals in the VFL, while Patrick Naish (33, one goal) and Riley Collier-Dawkins (31) were also very good. Callum Coleman-Jones picked up 22 disposals and kicked two goals, while coach Damien Hardwick says Maurice Rioli Jr is getting very close to his first game after being named an emergency last week but it is difficult to see them pulling the trigger on that this week.
R5 medical sub: Ross (unused)
Verdict: Unchanged. - Callum Twomey
Rowan Marshall (foot) and Zak Jones (soreness) should return after they missed the drubbing at the hands of Richmond. Medical sub Ben Long will be eyeing a spot in the starting side, while Ryan Byrnes has shot into contention after one game back at VFL level after a hamstring injury. Sandringham teammate Shaun McKernan (four goals, 23 disposals) is pushing for a recall and Tom Highmore, Darragh Joyce and Mason Wood are also around the mark. Late inclusions Luke Dunstan and Paul Hunter should make way, while there's concern around Jimmy Webster's groin. Seb Ross lacked impact, Daniel McKenzie and Jack Bytel remain on the fringe and Jake Carlisle could be looked at, but Bradley Hill has been assured of a spot by coach Brett Ratten.
R5 medical sub: Ben Long (replaced Webster)
Verdict: Marshall, Jones, Long and Byrnes for Hunter, Dunstan, Webster and Bytel. - Mitch Cleary
Star forward Lance Franklin and ruckman Tom Hickey are the crucial outs for the Swans, who have lost four key players in a couple of weeks. Hayden McLean played in rounds one and three, when Franklin was missing from the side, and seems the obvious replacement, especially after he kicked three goals in the VFL. Callum Sinclair also stood out in the reserves, picking up 17 disposals and 34 hitouts, so should come in for Hickey and his first game of the season. Midfielder James Rowbottom will return after recovering from a knee injury picked up in round one, and gathering 23 touches in the VFL. Dylan Stephens didn’t get into the game against the Giants after being subbed in during the final term, so could drop back to the VFL for a proper run. Sam Wicks and Logan McDonald have had a couple of quiet weeks, but McDonald should get another run with Franklin out.
R5 medical sub: Dylan Stephens (replaced Tom Hickey)
Verdict: Rowbottom, McLean and Sinclair into the starting 22 for Franklin, Hickey and Wicks. Wicks to replace Stephens as medical sub. - Martin Pegan
Midfielder-forward Jamaine Jones produced an excellent WAFL performance a day after he wasn't required as the Eagles' medical sub. Jones had 26 possessions (15 contested), nine tackles, nine clearances and two goals in the WAFL to put his name forward for a recall. Midfielder Brayden Ainsworth is also pushing for his first game this season and had 32 possessions (17 contested) for the Eagles' WAFL team. Zane Trew (16 and six clearances) is yet to debut, while Brendon Ah Chee should have recovered from a hamstring complaint. Nathan Vardy is filling the No.2 ruck spot at the moment, but he could make way if the Eagles opt for an extra runner against Geelong and are willing to use young star Oscar Allen in the ruck. Ruckman Bailey Williams is also available after recovering from an ankle injury.
R5 medical sub: Jamaine Jones (unused)
Verdict: Jones for Vardy. Foley as the medical sub. – Nathan Schmook
The Dogs will get Caleb Daniel back from suspension and it will be interesting to see if he replaces Bailey Williams (collarbone) or the club tries to find more like-for-like coverage. Zaine Cordy could be considered as the taller option or they could throw around their mix and add Lin Jong to a midfield/forward role. Ben Cavarra, who replaced Williams last week as the medical substitute, could also hold his place, while Josh Schache (five goals), Rhylee West (22 disposals) and Will Hayes (29 disposals) were all impressive at VFL level. The Dogs managed Stefan Martin last week and debuted Jordon Sweet, but appear likely to bring back Martin for the clash with the Giants, as well as Laitham Vandermeer who was a late withdrawal last week with a back issue.
R5 medical sub: Ben Cavarra (used)
Verdict: Daniel, Martin and Vandermeer in for Williams, Sweet and Lachie McNeil.