WHO IS a chance to play in round eight?

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 R8 ins and outs. Check it out.

The Crows have young talent in the SANFL itching for an opportunity in a rebuilding team. Chayce Jones (20 disposals and six rebound 50s) is pushing to play half-back, while 20-year-old Josh Worrell (22, four inside 50s and five rebound 50s) could debut at either end of the ground. Darcy Fogarty (18, seven inside 50s and a goal) was the medical substitute and has often played as a midfielder this season, but a turn forward could be called for. Young key defender Fischer McAsey is yet to play this season and should soon. Rory Sloane was listed at one to two weeks with an eye injury last week. If fit, the captain is an automatic inclusion.  

R7 medical substitute: Darcy Fogarty (unused)

Verdict: Jones, Worrell and Fogarty for David Mackay, James Rowe and Sam Berry. – Nathan Schmook

Darcy Fogarty tries to break away against the Dockers in round five, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

It's tough to change a line-up that comfortably handled one of the premiership favourites, but Chris Fagan will have to do just that for Sunday's clash against Fremantle with the return from concussion of reliable Darcy Gardiner. No defender truly deserves to be demoted, with debutant James Madden doing a solid job against Port's small forwards at the weekend. After seven straight matches it might be an opportune time to rest 33-year-old Grant Birchall for a week.

R7 medical sub: Tom Berry (unused)

Verdict: Gardiner for Birchall. - Michael Whiting

Darcy Gardiner in action, round 18, 2020. Picture: AFL Photos

There could be a number of changes in the offing for the Blues, with Paddy Dow (eye) and Mitch McGovern (hamstring) likely to be sidelined. However, Marc Murphy (neck), Zac Williams (soreness) and Jack Silvagni (shoulder) could be in line for recalls. Young ruckman Tom De Koning impressed in his return from a back injury with 13 disposals, 31 hitouts and a goal in the VFL. Could he replace either Marc Pittonet or Levi Casboult in the senior team? Will Setterfield was also impressive with 26 disposals and a goal, while Nic Newman returned from a knee injury with 23 touches in the VFL. Then there's Sam Petrevski-Seton, who was dropped from the 22 last week but impressed as the medical sub against the Bombers.

R7 medical sub: Sam Petrevski-Seton (replaced Paddy Dow)

Verdict: Murphy, Williams and De Koning to return for McGovern, Dow and Pittonet, with Silvagni an outside chance to feature following a shoulder injury. – Riley Beveridge

Zac Williams shows his trademark pace. Picture: AFL Photos

Could the Pies make it six debutants for the season and hand Reef McInnes a call-up? The draftee was strong in a VFL side that also had Brayden Sier (28 disposals), Jack Madgen (25) and Ollie Henry (22, three goals) impress. Category B rookie Tom Wilson is another to watch after 30 disposals in an intercepting role at half-back, while youngsters Will Kelly and Jay Rantall can feel a little hard done by after losing their spots in the starting side. Levi Greenwood will look to be cleared from concussion and Mason Cox from soreness after missing the VFL. The Pies will debate where Darcy Moore starts against the Roos, while Finlay Macrae might be due a rest after a quiet showing against the Suns. Debutant Caleb Poulter looked up to the level, but is this the week Josh Thomas or Will Hoskin-Elliott face the chop? Mark Keane got exposed in defence, while Nathan Murphy, Callum Brown and Chris Mayne are others who could be looked at.

R7 medical sub: Jay Rantall (unused)

Verdict: Henry, McInnes and Sier for Keane, C.Brown and Macrae. Moore to start back. - Mitch Cleary

Reef McInnes at Collingwood training in March. Picture: Getty Images

The Bombers went down to Carlton last week but are unlikely to make too many unforced changes after a promising and exciting display. Patrick Ambrose has been back at VFL level for several weeks now playing as a forward and could be considered, while Essendon is hopeful defender Aaron Francis will be available after missing last week with an ankle injury. If he does come back in, would he be picked ahead of James Stewart, who was recalled last week against the Blues? And it will be interesting if and when the Bombers look to rest Nik Cox, who has played every game so far in his debut season.

R7 medical sub: David Zaharakis (unused)

Verdict: Francis for Stewart. - Callum Twomey

Aaron Francis gets a handball away against Hawthorn in round one. Picture: AFL Photos

The loss of Ethan Hughes (shoulder) will almost certainly bring medical substitute Taylin Duman into the 22. An already decimated backline could also see James Aish move back for a week or two if Heath Chapman (shoulder) is ruled out against Brisbane. There should be unforced changes for the disappointing Dockers and there are form players waiting for an opportunity at WAFL level. Sam Sturt (three goals) and Liam Henry (20 possessions and seven score assists) are worthy of recalls, while Stefan Giro (33 and one goal) could return on a wing. Ruckman Lloyd Meek (23 and eight clearances) looked good for Peel Thunder and Joel Western (26 and six inside 50s) looks close to a debut. Josh Treacy (five goals) could return to give the Dockers the tall structure they had during their winning run. 

R7 medical substitute: Duman (replaced Hughes)

Verdict: Duman, Giro and Treacy for Hughes, Chapman and Mitch Crowden, with Henry as the medical substitute. – Nathan Schmook

Stefan Giro is a chance for a senior recall. Picture: AFL Photos

Rhys Stanley's spot will be debated after he spent the final 12 minutes on the bench against Sydney, as the Cats went with Mark Blicavs to carry the ruck. Gryan Miers has been ruled out with a hairline fracture to his fibula, while Quinton Narkle and Jordan Clark remain on the fringe. Back-up ruckman Darcy Fort and forward/ruck Josh Jenkins were strong against limited opposition in the VFL, but it might be too soon to bring back Esava Ratugolea after one game off groin soreness. Medical sub Zach Guthrie is in the frame, as is first-year defender Nick Stevens who was the carryover emergency against the Swans. Sam Simpson has now played two games back at the lower level, while Charlie Constable (28 disposals) and Max Holmes (26) had plenty of ball. Shaun Higgins is also up for consideration this week, having recovered from a fractured thumb and hamstring.

R7 medical sub: Zach Guthrie (replaced Miers)

Verdict: Constable and Simpson to replace Narkle and Miers. Stanley to hold his spot in a line-ball call. - Mitch Cleary

Charlie Constable gets a handpass away against Hawthorn in round tree, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The Suns have used the same line-up for two straight weeks and with no new injuries there's no reason they wouldn't do the same against St Kilda on Saturday. Mal Rosas is knocking the door down for a debut with strong VFL form, while Will Brodie, Brayden Fiorini and Darcy Macpherson all got plenty of ball at the lower level to keep the pressure on the senior midfielders.

R7 medical sub: Alex Sexton (unused)

Verdict: Unchanged. - Michael Whiting

Gold Coast players enjoy the win against Collingwood in round seven, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The Giants lose Brent Daniels to a hamstring and Matt Buntine, who was subbed in when Daniels was injured in the first term, to concussion. Tanner Bruhn again played well in the VFL with 23 touches and a goal in the midfield, so could get another chance. Nick Shipley (22 disposals) and Conor Stone (15) were also among the best in the reserves, but the clear best-on-ground was Jake Riccardi with 40 touches and 19 marks in a new defensive role, so he’ll be considered if the Giants choose to add a tall. Assistant coach Steve Johnson stated on the weekend that Shane Mumford is the club’s No.1 ruck option and he’s only played one match since being rested in round six, so expect ‘Mummy’ to take on Essendon.

R7 medical sub: Matt Buntine (replaced Brent Daniels)

Verdict: Bruhn into the starting 22, Shipley to start as medical sub. Daniels and Buntine miss with injury. - Martin Pegan

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The Hawks were too tall in an insipid display against St Kilda, so expect a few changes. Debutant Emerson Jeka had no impact, while Mitch Lewis was held to four disposals. Finn Maginness and Ollie Hanrahan remain on the fringe, but James Cousins had plenty of ball and should hold his spot for now, and Tim O'Brien has moved to defence. Jaeger O'Meara and Chad Wingard should return from their 'soreness', while Shaun Burgoyne's ankle will be a watch. Daniel Howe had 30 disposals in the VFL, Conor Nash impressed and Tyler Brockman rediscovered his confidence with two goals.

R7 medical sub: Damon Greaves (unused)

Verdict: O'Meara and Wingard for Maginness and Jeka. Hanrahan to be squeezed out if Burgoyne is passed fit. - Mitch Cleary

Jaeger O'Meara was one of Hawthorn's best in round five, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The Demons will need to reorganise their backline following the loss of Adam Tomlinson to an unfortunate knee injury. Sam Weideman could be his likely replacement after four goals from 10 marks in the VFL on the weekend, which would mean Tom McDonald returns to a defensive post. The other option is keeping McDonald forward and recalling Harrison Petty. Expect James Harmes to also be included for this week's clash against the Swans, having won 27 disposals and kicked two goals in his return from a wrist injury in the VFL. Oskar Baker would be his likely replacement, having only come into the side last week as a late inclusion. Jack Viney (toe) will miss at least the next fortnight.

R7 medical sub: Nathan Jones (replaced Adam Tomlinson)

Verdict: Weideman and Harmes to return for Tomlinson and Baker, with McDonald thrown into the backline. – Riley Beveridge

It might be Oskar Baker (left) out and Sam Weideman (right) in for the Demons this week. Picture: AFL Photos

The Kangaroos are sweating on whether a thigh injury will keep important defender Aiden Bonar sidelined for this week's clash against the struggling Pies. Trent Dumont will likely need another week in the VFL after his return from a series of calf injuries, but Dom Tyson pressed his case for a recall with 27 disposals. Bailey Scott was also promising in a big defeat to Casey last Thursday night, winning 19 touches and kicking a goal. Either could replace Curtis Taylor, who was held relatively quiet against the Demons last weekend.

R7 medical sub: Connor Menadue (replaced Aiden Bonar)

Verdict: Scott to come in for Taylor, with Tyson on standby to potentially replace Bonar. – Riley Beveridge

Bailey Scott at North Melbourne training. Picture: AFL Photos

Midfielder Travis Boak is an automatic inclusion after recovering from a minor quad injury that sidelined him against Brisbane. Ryan Burton has been cleared of structural rib damage and will be available. In the SANFL, Riley Bonner (24 disposals and a goal), Trent McKenzie (16, 10 marks and seven rebound 50s) and Jarrod Lienert (27 and 10 marks) made strong cases. After a 49-point loss, there should be unforced changes, with Boyd Woodcock (nine disposals) and Hamish Hartlett (eight) under pressure to perform. Orazio Fantasia (seven and 0.1) was quiet but has otherwise been strong this season.

R7 medical substitute: Sam Mayes (replaced Ryan Burton)

Verdict: Boak and Bonner for Woodcock and Hartlett. – Nathan Schmook

Travis Boak powers his way through against Carlton, round five, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

It will be a busy week for match committee at Punt Road, with Trent Cotchin (hamstring) and Dylan Grimes (concussion) to miss. Nick Vlastuin is considered a probable return from his knee injury and could be a straight swap for Grimes in defence, while Dustin Martin can come back for Cotchin in the midfield after missing the win over the Bulldogs with concussion. Patrick Naish was last week's substitute and could remain in that role, while Callum Coleman-Jones, Will Martyn and Maurice Rioli Jr are pressing to break into the senior side.

R7 medical sub: Patrick Naish (used)

Verdict: Cotchin and Grimes out for Martin and Vlastuin. - Callum Twomey

The Tigers will be hoping Nick Vlastuin can return to cover the loss of Dylan Grimes. Picture: AFL Photos

Luke Dunstan continues to bang down the door, picking up 35 disposals and three goals in the VFL on Sunday. Defender Tom Highmore had 30 of his own, while Ben Long (25), Jack Lonie (three goals) and unused medical sub Mason Wood were strong. Shaun McKernan remains around the mark and Dan McKenzie is available this week after suspension, but Dean Kent copped a head knock early in the VFL and Jake Carlisle sat out with a back complaint. Paddy Ryder got through his return and will enjoy the seven-day break, while fellow inclusions Jack Bytel and Ryan Byrnes performed well. Darragh Joyce and Jimmy Webster may be two looked at in defence.

R7 medical sub: Mason Wood (unused)

Verdict: Have to reward performance. Unchanged. - Mitch Cleary

Luke Dunstan is doing everything right for a recall. Picture: AFL Photos

Lance Franklin and Dane Rampe are set to be the latest Swans to recover quicker than expected from injury, and just need to get through training this week to return to face Melbourne. George Hewett should also be available after missing a week with concussion. Lewis Melican hurt his hamstring late in the win over Geelong and will be sidelined for a couple of games. Callum Sinclair could be the tall forward to make way after only gathering seven touches, while Hayden McLean kicked four goals. Ryan Clarke didn’t have much opportunity after being subbed on with about 10 minutes remaining in the game. Lewis Taylor (30 disposals), Robbie Fox (29), Braeden Campbell (25) and Logan McDonald (three goals, eight marks) impressed in the reserves, but it’s unlikely the Swans will make more changes.

R7 medical sub: Ryan Clarke (replaced Lewis Melican)

Verdict: Franklin, Rampe and Hewett in for Melican, Sinclair and Clarke. Colin O'Riordan was good against the Cats but drops to medical sub. - Martin Pegan

Dane Rampe celebrates Sydney's round four, 2021 win over Essendon. Picture: AFL Photos

The Eagles don't have any of their sidelined stars set to return this week and look likely to take an unchanged 22 to the MCG to take on Hawthorn, unless fresh injuries emerge. Of those on standby, midfielder Xavier O'Neill was dropped and returned to star at WAFL level with 28 disposals and four clearances. Brendon Ah Chee (two goals) was also impressive. Jarrod Cameron (three goals) will likely need to string some games together before pushing for senior selection, while Luke Foley played a good first half before heading to Optus Stadium as an emergency. None of Shannon Hurn (calf), Jeremy McGovern (groin) or Tom Barrass (shoulder) are likely to return but would be automatic inclusions if fit.

R7 medical substitute: Ben Ainsworth (unused)

Verdict: Unchanged, with Xavier O'Neill as medical sub. – Nathan Schmook

Tom Barrass and Jeremy McGovern enjoy a win, round six, 2020. Picture: AFL Photos

It is always hard to predict Luke Beveridge's team selection, but even more so after a loss, with the Dogs' defeat to Richmond last week their first of the season. Tim English could return from concussion and would likely replace Josh Schache, while Mitch Wallis was another strong contributor in the VFL. Laitham Vandermeer is a chance to return from a back injury, while Cody Weightman, Lewis Young and Buku Khamis were also good at state league level in their respective bids to break into the side. Jamarra Ugle-Hagan was an emergency last week and is getting closer to an AFL debut.

R7 medical sub: Lachie McNeil (unused)

Verdict: English and Vandermeer in for Schache and West. - Callum Twomey

The Bulldogs will likely welcome back Tim English. Picture: AFL Photos