WHO IS a chance to play in round 19?
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 R19 ins and outs. Check it out.
The Crows should get some key-position talent back this week. Tom Doedee missed Sunday's loss to West Coast with concussion but should be right to go this week, while No.2 draft pick Riley Thilthorpe was rested. Billy Frampton was excellent in the SANFL at the weekend, as was Matt Crouch in gathering 28 disposals in his first match back following groin surgery. Nick Murray will miss after suffering concussion against the Eagles.
R15 medical sub: Lachlan Sholl (replaced Nick Murray)
Verdict: Doedee and Thilthorpe for Murray and Elliot Himmelberg. – Michael Whiting
The Lions have looked a fraction below their pressuring, quality ball-using best in losses against St Kilda and Richmond in the past fortnight and might look to make a change or two ahead of playing Gold Coast on Saturday. Callum Ah Chee missed the loss to the Tigers for the birth of his first child and should come straight back in, while Tom Berry has been knocking on the door of a recall in recent weeks. Nakia Cockatoo has also strung a couple of matches together at VFL (or scratch match) level and could be getting close to a club debut.
R15 medical sub: Tom Berry (unused)
Verdict: Ah Chee and Tom Berry for Jack Payne and Keidean Coleman. – Michael Whiting
The Blues should regain co-captain Patrick Cripps for this Saturday's clash with the Kangaroos, after he missed last week's win with soreness. The club will also be keen to rush back Marc Murphy from a calf injury to ensure the veteran can reach his 300-game milestone by season's end. Jack Newnes was quiet last week after being hobbled by an early knock, while a smaller option in the forward line might need to make way for Murphy. Could that be Matt Owies, who has been held goalless in his past two matches? Charlie Curnow is still at least one week away from finally making his AFL return.
R18 medical sub: Lachie Fogarty (unused)
Verdict: Cripps and Murphy to return for Newnes and Owies. – Riley Beveridge
It's a case of the walking wounded this week at the Pies with Callum Brown (shoulder) and Josh Thomas (concussion) already ruled out. Brody Mihocek (abdominal) and Will Hoskin-Elliott (back) are also tests. Others whose spots may be looked at include Jack Madgen, Nathan Murphy and Trent Bianco. Untried small forward Jack Ginnivan appears a strong choice for Thomas' spot, while medical sub Caleb Poulter and fellow emergencies Tom Wilson and Mason Cox will be in the frame. Midfielders Brayden Sier, Finlay Macrae and Jay Rantall have also impressed recently at VFL recently, while Anton Tohill could be a left-field option in defence and Max Lynch remains around the mark as a ruck consideration.
R18 medical sub: Caleb Poulter (replaced Josh Thomas)
Verdict: Ginnivan and Sier for Thomas and Brown. Poulter and Cox in should Mihocek and Hoskin-Elliott not be cleared off the five-day break. – Mitch Cleary
It is hard to see the Bombers making too many unforced changes from the side that beat North Melbourne last week. David Zaharakis could be considered as he gets back from a wrist injury, while Nick Bryan might also come into the mix if Essendon wants to add some further height to its forward line with Harrison Jones injured. Martin Gleeson, who was last week's unused medical substitute, could also be a chance as may Brandon Zerk-Thatcher.
R18 medical sub: Martin Gleeson (unused)
Verdict: No change. – Callum Twomey
Ruckman Lloyd Meek has shot into contention for his first game since round four regardless of whether Sean Darcy misses with a knee injury or not. With Rory Lobb (ankle) in serious doubt and Matt Taberner (calf) no certainty to return, Meek shapes as the Dockers' most likely tall replacement as a second ruckman and forward. The 23-year-old had 11 disposals (10 contested) and 22 hitouts in a solid match with WAFL club Peel Thunder and has been highlighted as a player the Dockers want to give more exposure. Talented half-back Hayden Young is set to come back after returning from a long-term hamstring injury through the WAFL, while Brandon Walker is available for elevation into the 22. Joel Western (two goals) and Connor Blakely (30 disposals) impressed in the WAFL. Plenty of Dockers disappointed against Geelong, leaving them vulnerable at selection.
R18 medical sub: Brandon Walker (replaced Rory Lobb)
Verdict: Meek and Young for Lobb and Bailey Banfield. – Nathan Schmook
The Cats' selection logjam doesn't get any easier with Gary Rohan set to return from a corked leg and Lachie Henderson available after missing last week due to personal reasons. Unused medical sub Max Holmes will be in the frame along with Zach Guthrie, Jordan Clark and Francis Evans. With Henderson back in defence, a decision will be needed on who falls out and should Mark O'Connor return to the midfield, who tips out there. Quinton Narkle could be a candidate in that department. Another hole will be required in attack for Rohan after Chris Scott recalled Luke Dahlhaus against the Dockers to go with three small forwards. It poses a question on Rhys Stanley given the Cats went with Esava Ratugolea and Mark Blicavs in the ruck last time against the Tigers.
R18 medical sub: Max Holmes (unused)
Verdict: Rohan and Henderson for Stanley and Narkle, allowing Blicavs to assist Ratugolea in the ruck. - Mitch Cleary
With two wins and a more-than-competitive loss against Western Bulldogs in the past three weeks, there's unlikely to be many changes ahead of Saturday's match against Brisbane at the Gabba. Brandon Ellis will miss after hurting his hamstring against the Bulldogs, while the club is confident of Oleg Markov returning after a calf niggle kept him out last week. Rory Atkins also has a case to push in the 22 as a direct wing replacement for Ellis.
R15 medical sub: Rory Atkins (replaced Brandon Ellis)
Verdict: Markov for Ellis. – Michael Whiting
The Giants will be sweating on the fitness of Josh Kelly after the star midfielder rolled his ankle in the Sydney Derby and had to be subbed out of the match. Lachie Whitfield looms as the likely replacement if he passes the standard tests to show he's ready to return from concussion. Toby Greene, Matt de Boer, Kieren Briggs and Jake Stein will miss another week while in isolation. Greene is the hardest player to replace but Briggs' unavailability could also prove costly with Matt Flynn dislocating his shoulder twice against the Swans, Shane Mumford struggling with back soreness and Braydon Preuss suffering from a long-term injury. Bobby Hill is also unavailable after returning to Sydney for personal reasons.
R18 medical sub: Zach Sproule (replaced Josh Kelly)
Verdict: Whitfield and Mumford in for Kelly and Flynn. Lachie Ash to replace Sproule as medical sub. - Martin Pegan
After drawing with ladder leader Melbourne, there won't be too many, if any, changes made on form alone. Conor Nash is now available after isolation, while hamstrung trio Blake Hardwick, Chad Wingard and Harry Morrison are closing in on a return. Tyler Brockman was the quietest of the small forwards, while Damon Greaves could be the one to make way in defence. The club is also yet to confirm if Jack Scrimshaw is right to go after missing a week with concussion.
R18 medical sub: Jai Newcombe (unused)
Verdict: Hardwick and Wingard for Greaves and Brockman. – Sarah Black
The Demons are hopeful that James Harmes will return, after battling an ear infection that kept him out of last week's draw with the Hawks. Aaron vandenBerg was his replacement and might have done enough to keep his spot in the side, having won 16 disposals. Tom Sparrow was an unused medical sub and might make way within the 23. Nathan Jones should be fit following a calf injury, but will probably make his way back through the VFL, while Harrison Petty is likely to be declared available after feeling his hamstring last Saturday night.
R18 medical sub: Tom Sparrow (unused)
Verdict: Harmes to return to the team, with Sparrow exiting the squad. – Riley Beveridge
The Kangaroos are hopeful of regaining experienced midfield duo Jed Anderson and Ben Cunnington for Saturday's clash with the Blues. Anderson made his VFL return a fortnight ago following a long-term ankle injury, while Cunnington was managed last week. Jack Mahony is unlikely to play, having exited last week's loss with a shoulder injury. A younger onballer could also make way, be it either Will Phillips or Charlie Lazzaro, to restore some balance to the team's midfield group and accommodate for the return of a more senior pairing.
R18 medical sub: Atu Bosenavulagi (replaced Jack Mahony)
Verdict: Anderson and Cunnington to replace Mahony and Phillips. – Riley Beveridge
The Power could be bolstered by their three gun recruits from the 2018 NAB AFL Draft, with Zak Butters headlining the possible inclusions as he pushes to prove his fitness after a knee injury. Connor Rozee (knee soreness) and Xavier Duursma, who has already returned through the SANFL from a knee injury, are also likely inclusions. Impressive first-year defender Lachie Jones is also in contention after recovering from a second hamstring injury this season but is considered more likely to return through the SANFL. Small forward Orazio Fantasia will train fully but is more likely to push for selection next week.
R18 medical sub: Jed McEntee (replaced Boyd Woodcock)
Verdict: Duursma and Rozee for Woodcock and Sam Mayes. Butters for Martin Frederick if he is fit. – Nathan Schmook
The good news – the silky Shane Edwards (ankle) is set to return. The very, very bad news – superstar Dustin Martin is out for the season after injuring his kidney. The Tigers will also be looking for a replacement for Kamdyn McIntosh, who hurt his hamstring in the win over Brisbane. Unfortunately for regular sub Jack Ross, it might be dedicated winger Pat Naish who comes into the 22. The makeshift backline held up well against Brisbane, but if Nick Vlastuin (knee) is right to go, it could be the improving Rhyan Mansell who makes way.
R18 medical sub: Jack Ross (used)
Verdict: Edwards and Naish for Martin and McIntosh. – Sarah Black
Brett Ratten will be forced into at least three changes with Rowan Marshall and last week's emergency Darragh Joyce ruled out after attending a Tier 1 exposure site in Victoria. Tom Highmore (hand surgery) and Dan McKenzie (concussion) have also been ruled out. James Frawley, Nick Coffield and Oscar Clavarino have made the trip as potential defensive reinforcements for Highmore. Ruckman Paul Hunter, small forward Jack Lonie and mid-season draftee Cooper Sharman also travelled with the squad. Medical sub Jack Bytel is another who will be in the frame for one spot, having replaced McKenzie last week. Fringe players including Ben Long and Dean Kent could have their spots looked at after last week's loss.
R18 medical sub: Jack Bytel (replaced Dan McKenzie)
Verdict: Bytel, Frawley, Hunter and Lonie for McKenzie, Highmore, Marshall and Kent. Frawley for extra height in defence against the Eagles' talls. - Mitch Cleary
Callum Mills, Harry Cunningham, Colin O'Riordan and Callum Sinclair are unavailable for another week after being forced to isolate due to being COVID-19 close contacts. James Rowbottom and Dylan Stephens should hold their spots after being late inclusions for the Sydney Derby and contributing to the victory. James Bell was quiet in that match and finished with only five disposals. Sam Reid and Braeden Campbell took part in the reserves scratch match last week as part of their return from injury but are expected to have another hitout at the lower level before being considered for senior selection.
R18 medical sub: Ben Ronke (unused)
Verdict: Unchanged as the Swans try to settle their team after the chaos in the lead-up to the Sydney Derby. - Martin Pegan
Champion forward Josh Kennedy was a late omission last week with a calf issue but is expected to return for Saturday's clash against St Kilda. Even if he does, young forward Jake Waterman made a compelling case to return with four goals, 16 marks and 29 disposals for the Eagles' WAFL team. Defender Alex Witherden is also available after returning from a groin complaint, while Jarrod Brander had a big impact in the midfield at WAFL level and is an option with runs on the board from earlier this season. Midfielder Jack Redden is pushing to return from a leg injury, but it may be one week too early. He would be an ideal replacement for captain Luke Shuey if a calf complaint sidelines the Norm Smith medallist, with Xavier O'Neill another option as the Eagles look to get games into their youngsters.
R18 medical sub: Jackson Nelson (replaced Luke Shuey)
Verdict: Kennedy for Bailey Williams, and Brander for Shuey if he misses. – Nathan Schmook
The Bulldogs will lose Josh Dunkley as he serves his mandatory quarantine for visiting a Tier 1 COVID-19 exposure site, but should regain Tom Liberatore from soreness as a handy replacement. Easton Wood could also be considered as he moves closer to a return from his ankle injury. Mitch Hannan and last week's unused medical substitute Anthony Scott could also be a chance, as will Lewis Young as the Dogs prepare to take on Melbourne in a top-of-the-ladder clash.
R18 medical sub: Anthony Scott (unused)
Verdict: Liberatore in for Dunkley. – Callum Twomey