WHO IS a chance to play in round 12?

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 R12 ins and outs. Check it out.

There'll be one forced change to play Collingwood on Saturday after young forward Sam Berry suffered concussion against Richmond at the weekend. Medical sub Will Hamill would come into the frame, which would cause a reshuffle in the Crows line-up. Defender Andrew McPherson was his team's best in a heavy SANFL defeat, while midfield recruit Jackson Hately continued a strong run of form at the lower level. Ronin O'Connor has also been around the edges of the 23 in recent weeks.

R9 medical sub: Will Hamill (replaced Sam Berry)

Verdict: Hately for Berry. - Michael Whiting

Jackson Hately in action against GWS in round seven, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

A lot will depend on the availability of Lachie Neale. The Brownlow medalist got through training on Tuesday but will still need to prove he can get through four quarters and would be an obvious inclusion for Friday night's mouth-watering contest against Melbourne if he does. However, with a bye to follow, the Lions will take no chances. One man due back for consideration is reliable defender Ryan Lester, who has missed the past two matches with a hamstring injury. He's an important inclusion as the third tall against the dangerous Dees forwards. Young defender Connor Ballenden continues to impress at the lower level.

R9 medical sub: Tom Berry (unused)

Verdict: Lester for James Madden. - Michael Whiting

Ryan Lester in action against Fremantle, round eight, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The Blues could have Zac Fisher back from an ankle injury for this week's SCG clash with the Eagles. He would be the perfect replacement for Michael Gibbons, who looks set for some time on the sidelines after hurting his hamstring last Sunday. Josh Honey or Marc Murphy could be other options, should Fisher fail to recover. Luke Parks could also return, after the club's experiment playing Levi Casboult at either end didn't necessarily work against the Swans.

R11 medical sub: Marc Murphy (replaced Michael Gibbons)

Verdict: Fisher and Parks to replace Gibbons and Casboult, with Honey on standby. - Riley Beveridge

Blue Zac Fisher celebrates a goal against Collingwood in round two, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Brodie Grundy will miss his first game since 2017, leaving a gaping hole in the Pies' ruck plans. Darcy Cameron may shoulder more of the load, while Mason Cox is a test to return with his injured larynx and Max Lynch could be an option. Jack Madgen remains on the fringe after returning and starting as a forward, while Callum Brown, Tom Wilson, Nathan Murphy and Will Hoskin-Elliott will be looked at. Jamie Elliott will return from a fractured leg and last week's debutant Trent Bianco and midfielder Brayden Sier did enough to hold their spots after being included. Josh Thomas (ankle) is available, Beau McCreery (calf) is a test, while Mark Keane and Will Kelly could be considered for extra size in defence. Youngsters Jay Rantall, Ollie Henry and last week's medical sub Finlay Macrae remain around the mark. 

R11 medical sub: Finlay Macrae (replaced Grundy)

Verdict: Lynch, Elliott, Kelly and Thomas for Grundy, Callum Brown, Wilson and Madgen. - Mitch Cleary

00:49 Mins
Published on

Pies lose star ruckman to injury after tangling with Cat

Collingwood's Brodie Grundy is subbed out of the match following this incident

Published on

Essendon is unlikely to make too many changes after its stirring win over West Coast last week, with Aaron Francis expected back from illness but Peter Wright set to miss again with his calf injury. Brayden Ham was the substitute last week and didn't come onto the ground but should be in contention to return against the Tigers and could replace Will Snelling who broke his thumb against West Coast, while ruckman Sam Draper was close last week but the Bombers decided against playing him against the Eagles.

R11 medical sub: Brayden Ham (unused)

Verdict: Francis, Ham in for Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, Snelling. -  Callum Twomey

Aaron Francis against North Melbourne, round 10, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Key defender Griffin Logue is expected to be available after suffering a minor calf niggle last week. Key forward Matt Taberner is also a chance after suffering ankle ligament damage and falling short in his race to face Port Adelaide. Both would be significant inclusions for a difficult assignment against the Western Bulldogs. If Taberner is not fit, ruckman Lloyd Meek is available and would give the Dockers the ability to rotate Sean Darcy forward and create more crumbing opportunities for their small forwards. Sam Switkowski has a hamstring issue and could open the door for Joel Western to debut if a like-for-like replacement is needed. Defender Reece Conca has parts of his game to work on in the WAFL, but he has a proven ability to lock down on small forwards.

R11 medical sub: Connor Blakely (replaced Switkowski)

Verdict: Taberner and Logue for Switkowski and Duman. - Nathan Schmook 

The Dockers' forward line is a lot stronger with Matt Taberner in it. Picture: AFL Photos

The Demons need a wing replacement for the in-form Ed Langdon, after he was put into the AFL's 12-day concussion protocol on Friday night. The club had flagged Tom McDonald potentially stepping into that role in pre-season and, should he do so this weekend against the Lions, it would allow high-profile recruit Ben Brown to slot back into the forward line. More like-for-like options to replace Langdon include Nathan Jones or round 11 medical substitute Tom Sparrow. Expect star midfielder Jack Viney to miss at least another game with a toe injury.

R11 medical sub: Tom Sparrow (replaced Ed Langdon)

Verdict: Brown in for Langdon, freeing up McDonald to move to a wing. - Riley Beveridge

Ben Brown is congratulated by teammates after kicking a goal in round eight, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

Despite playing out the game, scans have shown Toby Nankervis has sprained his PCL. Shane Edwards is in line to play his first game in around a month after recuperating from an ankle injury, while David Astbury will miss a second week with Achilles soreness. Marlion Pickett is also free to play after serving his one-match ban for striking, but inclusion Josh Caddy played well enough to hold his spot. Someone could be very unlucky to make way for Edwards, or he will come in for Nankervis. Jason Castagna was quiet in front of goal but recorded 22 pressure acts, while youngster Hugo Ralphsmith kicked two majors from his seven touches.

R11 medical sub: Daniel Rioli (unused)

Verdict: Nankervis out for Edwards. - Sarah Black

00:34 Mins
Published on

Hugo guides to perfection, insane first major

Hugo Ralph-Smith swings this beauty to extend the Tigers' lead

Published on

Hunter Clark (groin) and James Frawley (shoulder) should be pushing to play, while last week's dropped duo Jack Bytel and Jack Lonie will be in the frame to face Sydney. Ben Long continues to be named among the emergencies, while Leo Connolly was close a fortnight ago. Paul Hunter is also to be considered, but Josh Battle could hold up the second ruck role behind Paddy Ryder. It'll be tough to remove Luke Dunstan and Mason Wood who both returned last week and had an impact, while Nick Coffield was serviceable. Bradley Hill had just six disposals and was tagged out of the game in another quiet showing, but Brett Ratten defended him again, while Max King is too important to drop. Last week's debutant Oscar Clavarino will be looked at and Ryan Byrnes, Jack Higgins and Dan Butler had quiet games.

R11 medical sub: Jack Lonie (unused)

Verdict: If fit – Clark and Frawley for Coffield and Clavarino. - Mitch Cleary

Hunter Clark at Saints training on June 1, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

In-form ruckman Tom Hickey is expected to return to take on St Kilda after being sidelined with soreness in his troublesome knee last week. Callum Sinclair replaced Hickey for the win over Carlton and could go straight back out, although young forward-ruck Hayden McLean has had a couple of quiet, goalless games and might be the one to make way. Defender Robbie Fox has recovered from a nasty eye injury and will be available. Kaiden Brand performed well in his second game of the season, but the Swans might not need a third key defender against the Saints. With VFL matches postponed last week players like Nick Blakey will have to rely on training well to press their claims for a senior berth.

R11 medical sub: Lewis Taylor (unused)

Verdict: Hickey and Fox into the starting 22 for Sinclair and Brand. Blakey to replace Taylor as medical sub. - Martin Pegan

Tom Hickey is enjoying a career-best season in 2021. Picture: Getty Images

Overlooked last week, young midfielder Xavier O'Neill should get his chance against Carlton as a replacement for injured star Tim Kelly. O'Neill has played four games this season, in blocks of two, and is crying out for a continued run to establish himself. Other midfield options are Luke Edwards and Zane Trew, with both close at times but yet to debut. Edwards played a half in the WAFL before serving as an AFL emergency against Essendon, while Trew had 20 touches at State league level and impressed in congestion. Accountable midfielder Mark Hutchings has played two very solid WAFL games on the path back from a knee injury and is an option. Young defender Harry Edwards impressed in the WAFL and is the logical replacement for Oscar Allen, who started back against Essendon. If Alex Witherden is cleared of a groin injury, he could push a defender like Jackson Nelson out of the 22. 

R11 medical sub: Jake Waterman (replaced Tim Kelly)

Verdict: O'Neill and Harry Edwards replace Kelly and Allen. - Nathan Schmook

Harry Edwards in action in the round seven, 2021, Western Derby. Picture: AFL Photos

The Dogs lost debutant Riley Garcia to concussion last week early in his first AFL game so he will be out, with Louis Butler hopeful of holding his spot in the starting 22. Jordon Sweet is likely to make way for Stef Martin, who has recovered from his Achilles injury, while Mitch Hannan is also available after a calf injury saw him miss last week's loss to Melbourne. Anthony Scott was managed last week and appears likely to come back into the side.

R11 medical sub: Louis Butler (used)

Verdict: Garcia, Sweet and Lachie McNeil to make way for Martin, Hannan and Scott with Butler the sub. -  Callum Twomey

Stefan Martin handballs against North Melbourne in round three, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos