WHO IS a chance to play in round 22?

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 R22 ins and outs. Check it out

The Crows will be forced to make at least two changes to face Melbourne following concussions suffered by both Brodie Smith and Will Hamill at the weekend. Josh Worrell was excellent in defence in the SANFL Showdown, as was Lachie Sholl who could slide in on the wing to replace Smith. If Adelaide wanted to go a little smaller in its forward line, James Rowe responded to his omission in the best way possible at the lower level, kicking two goals from 25 disposals.

R15 medical sub: Ben Davis (replaced Brodie Smith)

Verdict: Worrell and Sholl for Hamill and Smith. - Michael Whiting

Adelaide's Brodie Smith in action against Essendon in R17, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

The Lions got back on track against Fremantle and have more good news on the way with Lachie Neale (illness) and Darcy Gardiner (shoulder) both available to play Collingwood this weekend. Gardiner has missed 12 weeks following surgery but is crucial to Brisbane's finals aspirations and has the total confidence of coaches and teammates. Mitch Robinson (calf) was taken off against the Dockers and will have to prove his fitness during the week.

R15 medical sub: Tom Berry (replaced Mitch Robinson)

Verdict: Neale and Gardiner for Rhys Mathieson and Jaxon Prior. - Michael Whiting

Brisbane's Lachie Neale celebrates a goal against North Melbourne in R14, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The Blues will have to replace key pillars at either end of the field, after last week's agonising loss to the Suns was compounded by a shoulder injury to Harry McKay and a knee injury to Liam Jones. But Mitch McGovern kicked six goals in a VFL scratch match and should return, while former first-round pick Brodie Kemp is firming for an AFL debut after a couple of impressive performances down back in the reserves. Levi Casboult is also fit following a knee injury and could feature at either end. Marc Murphy will play from the start in his 300th and final game, while Will Setterfield is a chance to return from a groin injury. Sam Petrevski-Seton and Lachie Fogarty are also pushing for recalls. After quiet games last week, Tom Williamson and Jack Newnes are among a host of players who could be on the chopping block. Sam Walsh is fine, despite an ankle knock last week, but Zac Williams won't play until round 23 due to a hamstring issue.

R21 medical sub: Marc Murphy (unused)

Verdict: Four changes for the dead rubber against the Power. McGovern, Kemp, Murphy and Setterfield to play, with McKay, Jones, Williamson and Newnes going out of the team. – Riley Beveridge

Carlton's Mitch McGovern in action during a VFL clash against Sandringham on July 31, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Josh Daicos has been cleared to return from a finger injury, while Jordan Roughead's ankle concern has been given the green light. Last week's unused medical sub Trent Bianco will be considered for a starting spot along with Mason CoxTom WilsonCaleb Poulter and Nathan Murphy. The Pies are also keen to get Next Generation Academy graduate Reef McInnes in before season's end. Small forward Beau McCreery was quiet in his return game, while Josh Thomas is another who could be looked at given Jack Ginnivan kicked three goals. If Robert Harvey is looking to rotate some other names through his side, then Jack Madgen's spot could be under threat. 

R21 medical sub: Trent Bianco (unused)

Verdict: Daicos and Bianco for McCreery and Thomas. – Mitch Cleary

Josh Daicos during a Collingwood training session on August 6, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

Dyson Heppell is pushing for a return after missing last week with a thumb injury and the skipper is an automatic inclusion if passed fit. He likely comes in for Martin Gleeson if ready to go after the injury setback although Gleeson did his job against the Bulldogs. Brayden Ham was omitted last week as was Archie Perkins but Perkins, having been the unused medical substitute, might have had the freshen up he needed to get back into the starting 22 for this week's clash with Gold Coast as Essendon pushes for a finals spot. 

R21 medical sub: Archie Perkins (unused)

Verdict: Heppell, Perkins in for Gleeson, Alec Waterman. – Callum Twomey

Essendon's Dyson Heppell in action against Sydney in R20, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Young midfielder Nathan O'Driscoll is a strong chance to make his debut in a Western Derby as the Dockers manage more injury and availability issues. The tough youngster had been pushing hard for selection before the Dockers entered quarantine and could get his first taste at AFL level as a replacement for Andrew Brayshaw, who faces a one-match suspension. Ethan Hughes is a likely option to replace defender Nathan Wilson (hamstring), while Bailey Banfield has served his concussion protocols and should be available. Brett Bewley did enough to stay in the team once activated as the medical sub, with Blake Acres another midfield/wing option. Sam Switkowski is pushing to return from a hamstring injury. 

R21 medical substitute: Brett Bewley (replaced Nathan Wilson) 

Verdict: O'Driscoll, Banfield, Hughes and Bewley for Brayshaw, Wilson, Crowden and Western. – Nathan Schmook

Fremantle's Nathan O'Driscoll warms up before the clash with Richmond in R20, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Jeremy Cameron (hamstring) only needs to tick off training this week to return. Isaac Smith (managed), Lachie Henderson (calf) and Mark O'Connor (knee) also look set to be recalled, while Tom Atkins (back) will be assessed closer to game time. Last week's medical sub Quinton Narkle will be another eyeing a starting spot, however Gryan Miers appears at least one week away his leg fracture. Zach Tuohy (hamstring) has been ruled out, while Patrick Dangerfield (bruised larynx), Gary Rohan (hip) and Jake Kolodjashnij (calf) will be monitored. Brad Close was quiet against the Giants but should hold his spot, with Nathan KreugerJordan ClarkMax Holmes and Zach Guthrie's spots to come under the microscope. Cameron's return is also likely to force a decision on Esava Ratugolea or Rhys Stanley unless both play to allow Mark Blicavs to combat Max King full-time.

R21 medical sub: Quinton Narkle (replaced Patrick Dangerfield)

Verdict: Cameron, Smith, Henderson, O'Connor and Narkle for Ratugolea, Clark, Kreuger, Tuohy and Holmes. If fit, Atkins to replace Zach Guthrie. If Dangerfield and Rohan are ruled out, Clark and Holmes keep their spots. - Mitch Cleary

Geelong's Patrick Dangerfield on the bench after copping an elbow from Toby Greene in R21, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Following a terrific win over Carlton, there's not much reason for the Suns to make changes ahead of their match with finals hopeful Essendon. Brandon Ellis will miss with a hamstring injury, leaving a hole on the wing. The man who replaced him against the Blues, Jack Bowes, could come in at half-back, pushing Jack Lukosius further up the ground. Sam Flanders is another option to return, with Alex Sexton having the flexibility to spend more time on the wing. 

R15 medical sub: Jack Bowes (replaced Brandon Ellis)

Verdict: Bowes for Ellis. - Michael Whiting

Gold Coast's Jack Bowes in action against Carlton in R21, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The Giants will be sweating on the availability of Toby Greene until the AFL Tribunal considers the challenge to his two-match ban for striking Patrick Dangerfield. Josh Kelly and Jesse Hogan will return for the crucial clash with Richmond after they were two of the eight changes the Giants had to make before their rousing win over Geelong. Shane Mumford is likely to be recalled after being rested last week, while it is hoped Jacob Hopper and Phil Davis will also be available after working through the concussion protocols without any issues so far. Captain Stephen Coniglio, speedy forward Bobby Hill and experienced trio Sam Reid, Daniel Lloyd and Adam Kennedy face fitness tests this week. Brent Daniels and Callum Brown both injured a hamstring in the victory over the Cats and will miss multiple weeks, but with so many experienced players set to be available, many of the youngsters that lifted the Giants to a shock win will also have to make way. 

R21 medical sub: Nick Shipley (replaced Brent Daniels)

Verdict: Kelly, Hopper, Hogan, Davis, Mumford, Kennedy and Lloyd in for Greene, Daniels, Brown, Buntine, Sproule, Stein and Shipley. Riccardi starts as medical sub. - Martin Pegan

Greater Western Sydney's Jesse Hogan looks on at training on August 5, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

James Worpel was subbed out of Hawthorn's big win over Collingwood with a foot injury. Young duo Denver Grainger-Barras and Ned Reeves missed the game through management, but replacement ruck Jonathon Ceglar was solid. Jai Newcombe looms as a possible replacement for Worpel, unless the Hawks opt to run Ollie Hanrahan in the middle and retain sub Tyler Brockman

R21 medical sub: Tyler Brockman (used)

Verdict: Newcombe for Worpel. – Sarah Black

Hawthorn's Jai Newcombe celebrates a goal against Greater Western Sydney in R15. 2021. Picture: Getty Images

The Demons were forced to replace Tom McDonald on the eve of their victory over the Eagles due to a back issue, but he should return for this weekend's clash with the Crows. James Jordon was a late replacement for him at Optus Stadium. However, Jayden Hunt suffered an ankle injury and will have to undergo scans later this week. Experienced duo Michael Hibberd and Neville Jetta have been in promising form across half-back in the VFL and would be on standby, should Hunt's results not go as planned. Sam Weideman and Joel Smith were also among the emergencies in Western Australia and are on the cusp of recalls.

R21 medical sub: Aaron vandenBerg (replaced Jayden Hunt)

Verdict: McDonald to replace Jordon, with Hibberd on standby for Hunt should he not prove his fitness. – Riley Beveridge

Melbourne's Tom McDonald fires off a handball against the Western Bulldogs in R19. 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

With the wooden spoon almost unavoidable, will the opportunity arise for a few more debutants at the Kangaroos? Key forward Charlie Comben and the speedy Phoenix Spicer have been in good form at VFL level and could come into the equation to win a maiden senior start for this week's clash with the Swans. Will Phillips was an unused substitute last week and could also be in contention to return to the team. Eddie Ford was quiet on Saturday after a promising debut the week prior, while Bailey Scott was another who didn't see much of the footy against the Tigers.

R21 medical sub: Will Phillips (unused)

Verdict: Comben and Phillips to replace Ford and Scott, with Spicer on the cusp of a debut. – Riley Beveridge

North Melbourne's Will Phillips in action against Carlton in round 19, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

The Power face a decision on classy half-forward Stephen Motlop, who is available to return after undergoing ankle surgery to repair a syndesmosis injury in round 17. The club would want him back in the team for finals but could choose to ease him in through the SANFL this week. The other decision at Port is around their best forward and ruck set-up after leaving Todd Marshall out for the round 21 Showdown and selecting him as the medical substitute. If Marshall returns, it would likely be at the expense of forward/ruck Peter Ladhams against a Carton team without ruck depth. Going in unchanged is also an option as the Power start to look settled with most of their best players available.   

R21 medical substitute: Todd Marshall (unused) 

Verdict: Marshall for Ladhams - Nathan Schmook

Port Adelaide's Peter Ladhams is tackled by Adelaide's Jake Kelly in R21, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Richmond will be faced with an interesting dilemma, after late call-up Thomson Dow (22 disposals) performed well in Kamdyn McIntosh's absence. After pulling out on game day, McIntosh should be ready to go for the clash with GWS. Hugo Ralphsmith (17 and a goal) also performed well on the other wing, while Maurice Rioli is likely to be given another week. Matt Parker didn't do too much wrong, but was one of the quieter players with 14 touches. 

R21 medical sub: Jason Castagna (unused)

Verdict: No change. – Sarah Black

Richmond's Jason Castagna handballs against Fremantle in R20, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Is this the week the Saints pull the trigger on a Dan Hannebery return? The injury-plagued veteran has played two VFL games back and impressed in a scratch match last weekend to put his name up for selection. Hunter Clark will be eyeing a return from concussion, while Ben LongJack LonieOscar Clavarino and last week's medical sub Jack Bytel are also in the frame. Leo Connolly (concussion) has been ruled out. Max King is under an injury cloud after being subbed out with a groin complaint, while Paddy Ryder remains a watch having missed the last two weeks with Achilles soreness. Should Ryder be fit to return then Darragh Joyce's spot as pinch-hit ruck will be looked at, while Nick Coffield remains on the fringe. Paul Hunter remains around the mark if Brett Ratten wants two rucks and Ryder isn't fit, while Dougal Howard hasn't been ruled out of an early return from a hamstring.

R21 medical sub: Jack Bytel (replaced Ryder)

Verdict: Hannebery and Clark for Coffield and Connolly. If Ryder is fit, Joyce misses unless King is ruled out then he keeps his spot. - Mitch Cleary

Dan Hannebery in action for Sandringham against Carlton in the VFL on July 31, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The Swans will hope to regain Callum Mills after the gun midfielder was withdrawn just minutes before the first bounce of the match against St Kilda due to issues with an ongoing Achilles concern. James Rowbottom came into the starting 22 for Mills and was strong around the contests with 14 disposals, five clearances and five tackles, while Dylan Stephens failed to make the most of his opportunity with only eight touches at 25 per cent efficiency. Sam Wicks had only six disposals and no tackles in his usual role as a pressure forward and needs to consistently offer more to guarantee his spot. Braeden Campbell has had four hit-outs at the lower level and is ready to push for selection, while Chad Warner is also nearing a return but might need more match practice first.

R21 medical sub: Ryan Clarke (unused)

Verdict: Mills and Campbell in for Wicks and Stephens. Wicks replaces Clarke as medical sub. - Martin Pegan

Lance Franklin and Callum Mills celebrate Sydney's win over West Coast in R16, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

As one trio of stars prepare to return, more key Eagles are in doubt with fresh injuries ahead of a must-win Western Derby. Captain Luke Shuey is set to return from a calf injury, while Tom Barrass and Liam Ryan look ready to resume from hamstring injuries. The Eagles could be without Shannon Hurn (hamstring) and late withdrawal Liam Duggan (knee), however, with Josh Kennedy (knee) also requiring scans despite playing out Monday night's clash against Melbourne. If Duggan can't return, Luke Foley or Josh Rotham are options to replace Hurn in defence. Rotham gives the added flexibility to play tall and allow Jeremy McGovern to help in the ruck if needed. Jake Waterman is also available if Kennedy doesn't come up with his knee complaint. 

R21 medical substitute: Luke Edwards (replaced Hurn) 

Verdict: Shuey, Barrass, Rotham and Ryan for Hurn, Harry Edwards, Vardy and Langdon. – Nathan Schmook 

West Coast's Luke Shuey speaks with Shannon Hurn on the boundary during the R17 clash with North Melbourne. Picture: AFL Photos

The Dogs face some decisions on how they react and structure up after Josh Bruce's unfortunate knee injury in the dying seconds of their loss to the Bombers. Cody Weightman should be back after being managed last week while Mitch Hannan will also be considered if he can get past his shoulder injury. Jordon Sweet will be looked at to bolster the ruck department in a move that could free up Tim English to spend more time up forward in lieu of Bruce. Alex Keath is pushing to be available after his hamstring injury and could come into the side for Josh Schache, who has been cleared of structural damage to his knee but is still sore.

R21 medical sub: Roarke Smith (unused)

Verdict: Weightman, Sweet, Keath in for Bruce, Schache, Riley Garcia. – Callum Twomey

Cody Weightman launches high over Max Gawn for a spectacular mark in round 19, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos