WHO IS a chance to play in round two?

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 R2 ins and outs. Check it out

Young midfielder Luke Pedlar booted four goals in a SANFL trial game and had a strong pre-season for the most part, making him a strong midfield/forward option this week if there are unforced changes in that part of the ground. Club champion Rory Laird is also training this week and pushing to return from a broken hand. The Crows may look to reward the form of the versatile Lachlan Gollant, who booted five goals in a SANFL trial game, while Billy Frampton was solid in defence with 22 disposals. Forward Shane McAdam is available after suffering an adductor strain. Lachlan Scholl impressed after starting as the medical substitute and should be elevated into the 22. 

R1 medical substitute: Lachlan Scholl (replaced Andrew McPherson)

Verdict: Gollant and Scholl for McPherson and Himmelberg, with Pedlar as medical sub

Adelaide's Lachie Sholl attempts a kick during round one, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

With captain Dayne Zorko avoiding serious injury and appearing likely to play against Essendon on Saturday, the biggest headache for the Lions comes in how to replace suspended Mitch Robinson. Harry Sharp impressed in his one quarter last week when he came on as the medi-sub and is a perfect wing-for-wing replacement for Robinson. However, Chris Fagan also has the option of swinging Callum Ah Chee from the forward line to the wing and bringing in versatile Deven Robertson or even reverting Zorko to half-forward and giving Irishman James Madden or Jaxon Prior a chance in defence.

R1 medical substitute: Harry Sharp (replaced Dayne Zorko)

Verdict: Sharp to come in for Robinson. Robertson as the medi-sub. - Michael Whiting

Brisbane's Harry Sharp evades a tackle during round one, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

The club will regain superstar midfielder Sam Walsh, who has made an extraordinary comeback from a syndesmosis injury sustained last month. Walsh will replace gun recruit Adam Cerra, who joins Jack Martin – along with coach Michael Voss and a series of other assistant coaches – in the AFL's health and safety protocols. Veteran midfielder Ed Curnow, forward Lachie Fogarty and uncapped youngster Jack Carroll will come into contention for Martin's spot. Expect the two-ruck approach to continue, given Tom De Koning worked well in tandem with Marc Pittonet and was able to use his athleticism to good effect as a forward.

R1 medical substitute: Tom Williamson (unused)

Verdict: Walsh and Fogarty to replace Cerra and Martin. - Riley Beveridge

Carlton's Lachie Fogarty in action during a training session on December 6, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Craig McRae might be reluctant to many any changes to the 22 that produced one of the more impressive performances of round one. The Pies will need to consider if and how they can fit in Will Hoskin-Elliott after the experienced forward missed the season-opener due to health and safety protocols. The Magpies would have been thrilled with the output from Jack Ginnivan and Oliver Henry, who both finished with two goals each on Friday night, as well as the defensive forward pressure from Beau McCreery. Mason Cox is in doubt after injuring his ankle late in the game. Nathan Kreuger is available after overcoming concussion. Collingwood might also consider Darcy Cameron for Cox, after he played 18 games in 2021. Callum Brown was named as an emergency and played in the VFL practice match against Sandringham at the AIA Centre on Friday afternoon. 

R1 medical substitute: Tom Wilson (unused)

Verdict: Will Hoskin-Elliott hasn’t banged the door down over the pre-season practice matches and might not force his way straight back into Collingwood's best 22, who could go in unchanged for Saturday's game against Adelaide at the MCG. If Cox doesn’t get up, the Pies might go with Cameron or Kreuger. - Josh Gabelich

Will Hoskin-Elliott at Collingwood training in December 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The Bombers should welcome back Jake Stringer from his groin troubles and he can replace Kyle Langford, who will miss with his long-term hamstring injury. It was a very poor performance by Essendon in round one so it will be fascinating to see if the Bombers' coaching panel reacts swiftly or gives them another chance against the Lions this week. Aaron Francis could come in having battled a knee issue since the practice game against the Western Bulldogs. Ben Hobbs will be in consideration as may Alec Waterman.

R1 medical substitute: Tom Cutler (replaced Kyle Langford)

Verdict: Stringer and Francis in for Langford and Kaine Baldwin. Cutler retains substitute role. - Callum Twomey

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Darcy Parish and Jake Stringer embrace after the round 22 clash between Gold Coast and Essendon at GMHBA Stadium on August 15, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The Dockers hope to be boosted by their two biggest stars, with captain Nat Fyfe and club champion Sean Darcy pushing to return against St Kilda on Sunday. Fyfe will be assessed later in the week after back and knee issues flared recently, while Darcy completed a solid training run at the weekend after missing the season opener with a calf complaint. Nine Dockers played for Peel Thunder in a WAFL trial game, with trimmed down midfielder Connor Blakely (two goals) the standout, winning plenty of possessions on the wing. Blake Acres and Liam Henry played on the wing in round one, but there will be competition for their spots, with Nathan O'Driscoll also impressive with the Thunder and Neil Erasmus, who can play forward, waiting for an opportunity. Travis Colyer would also be an option of there are changes in attack.  

R1 medical substitute: Travis Colyer (unused)  

Verdict: Darcy and Erasmus for Meek and Banfield – Nathan Schmook

Fremantle Sean Darcy attempts to smother a kick from West Coast's Tim Kelly during the AAMI Community Series match on March 6, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Chris Scott will regain midfielder Mitch Duncan and defender Jed Bews for Friday night's blockbuster against Sydney at the SCG. Coleman Medal winner Jeremy Cameron will be given every chance to prove his fitness after suffering a nasty hip pointer injury against Essendon in round one. Francis Evans replaced the former Giant in the second quarter and could keep the spot if Cameron doesn’t prove his fitness in time. Sam De Koning won't play after suffering a concussion in the 66-point win over the Bombers. Irishman Mark O'Connor is in the mix as he still works to overcome the knee tendinitis that has plagued his past month, but might need some time in the VFL first. Sam Menegola is pressing his case after off-season knee surgery but could be in the same bracket. Cooper Stephens also continues to mount a case for a long-awaited debut.

R1 medical substitute: Francis Evans (replaced Jeremy Cameron)

Verdict: Duncan and Bews look set to return this weekend after missing round one, with De Koning coming out. Cameron might run out of time to prove his fitness coming off a six-day break. - Josh Gabelich

Geelong's Jed Bews in action during a practice match against Richmond on February 26, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

After a 27-point win over West Coast in Perth, there's little reason to tinker with the 22 ahead of Saturday's match against premier Melbourne. If the Dees shuffle Tom McDonald from attack into their injury-ravaged backline, Stuart Dew could contemplate resting Caleb Graham and bringing in a smaller defender, like Rory Atkins or Oleg Markov, to fill the void – but that seems highly unlikely. The new-look forward line, minus Ben King, functioned well against the Eagles, meaning the unlucky Alex Sexton might have to continue to bide his time.

R1 medical substitute: Alex Sexton (unused)

Verdict: No changes. - Michael Whiting

Alex Sexton during a Gold Coast training session on November 26, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The Giants lost against Sydney, but coach Leon Cameron would be hard-pressed to make too many changes ahead of Sunday's game against Richmond after his team played at such a high level. Jesse Hogan (muscle soreness) and Nick Haynes (stomach) could be two huge inclusions, needing to get through Thursday's training session to put their hand up. Either Jarrod Brander or Jake Riccardi would be vulnerable if Hogan makes it back, and Lachie Keeffe the likely omission if Haynes gets up. Xavier O'Halloran was quiet against the Swans.

R1 medical substitute: Tanner Bruhn (unused)

Verdict: Hogan and Haynes for Brander and Keeffe. Bruhn to swap places in the 22 for O'Halloran to move to the medi-sub. - Michael Whiting

Greater Western Sydney's Jesse Hogan in action during a practice match against Sydney on February 25, 2022. Picture: AFL Photo

Sam Mitchell will regain to of his most experienced players for this weekend's trip to South Australia, with Ben McEvoy and Luke Breust available after missing round one after entering the AFL's health and safety protocols. McEvoy will replace new recruit Max Lynch after the former Collingwood ruckman suffered a concussion in his first game in brown and gold. No.7 pick Josh Ward hurt his ankle on debut and might not get up for his second game. The Hawks are also considering recalling young defender Will Day for the trip to South Australia after the former first round pick got through a VFL practice match unscathed on the weekend. Jacob Koschitzke booted three goals at Arden Street but will struggle to come straight back into this team given the return of Jack Gunston and the form of Mitch Lewis in round one.

R1 medical substitute: Tom Phillips (replaced Max Lynch)

Verdict: Ben McEvoy is a straight swap for Max Lynch. Luke Breust will return and Will Day should come in after the success of Changkuoth Jiath who has tracked a similar recovery across the first few months of this year. The six-day break between games might count against Day, but the Hawks could back in the classy defender to build fitness in the 22. - Josh Gabelich

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Hawthorn's Ben McEvoy speaks with the media during the 2022 Captains Day. Picture: AFL Photos

It all depends on how many defenders the Demons get back. Jake Lever snapped his plantar fascia the week before the season-opener. He's sore, but could return given the 10-day break before playing the Suns. Trent Rivers will reintegrate with main training this week and is also a chance to return. Michael Hibberd is still nursing a calf injury and is another who will face a late fitness test this week. However, Harrison Petty is around a month away and Christian Salem will miss up to two months after undergoing knee surgery. Toby Bedford impressed as a high half-forward after coming into the side for Salem as the substitute and could hold his place, with Tom McDonald's ability to go into the backline giving Simon Goodwin the opportunity to be patient with his returning defenders.

R1 medical substitute: Toby Bedford (replaced Christian Salem)

Verdict: Bedford to replace Salem as the Dees' only change, with McDonald to remain back. - Riley Beveridge

Melbourne's Toby Bedford in action during round one, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

There's plenty to consider for the Kangaroos. The club will sweat on Josh Walker's fitness after testing positive to COVID-19. He will be out of the AFL's health and safety protocols by Sunday's clash with the Eagles, but is still suffering from mild symptoms. His availability will be dependent on how he is feeling. Ben McKay has entered the League's concussion protocols and will be unavailable. If both are out, could Charlie Comben provide a left-field solution to the side's key position crisis in the backline? The three-ruck approach didn't necessarily work against the Hawks and might be abandoned, with Callum Coleman-Jones the likely omission given how well Todd Goldstein and Tristan Xerri have paired this summer. Paul Curtis could be a surprise debutant to provide more x-factor in the forward line, should they go smaller. Jared Polec should be fit as he recovers from an ankle injury, with Tom Powell only called up last week as a late inclusion. Aiden Bonar might need one more week in the reserves, having recovered from wrist surgery.

R1 medical substitute: Charlie Lazzaro (replaced Ben McKay)

Verdict: Walker, Polec and debutant Curtis named in place of McKay, Powell and Coleman-Jones. Comben on standby if Walker isn't cleared to play. - Riley Beveridge

Charlie Comben is congratulated by teammates on his first AFL goal in North Melbourne's clash with Sydney in R22, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

Former Brisbane defender Sam Skinner shapes as the likely replacement for injured teammates Aliir Aliir (syndesmosis) after a year in the SANFL and starting the season as a round one emergency. The Power could also hand an AFL debut to exciting draftee Josh Sinn if one of Xavier Duursma (SC joint) or Trent McKenzie (knee) is not cleared to face Hawthorn, shuffling others into medium/tall defender roles. Defender Miles Bergman is more likely to play a SANFL trial game after missing several weeks with a shoulder injury. Robbie Gray (knee) and Connor Rozee (ankle) look likely to play, but it's expected Steven Motlop would be elevated from medical substitute if either misses. Midfielder Trent Dumont (25 disposals and 10 clearances) impressed in a SANFL trial game, while round one emergency Sam Mayes is available.  

R1 medical substitute: Steven Motlop (replaced Xavier Duursma)

Verdict: Skinner and Sinn for Aliir and Duursma. - Nathan Schmook

Port Adelaide's Josh Sinn gets a kick away against Adelaide in the 2022 AAMI Community Series. Picture: AFL Photos

It might take some rearranging for the Tigers this week with Jack Riewoldt (thumb) set to miss and Dion Prestia out with his hamstring injury. Hugo Ralphsmith was the Tigers' substitute last week and should hold his place, but Thomson Dow, Rhyan Mansell and Matt Parker will be in the mix to play, as will Kamdyn McIntosh coming back from a calf injury that kept him out of round one.

R1 medical substitute: Hugo Ralphsmith (replaced Dion Prestia)

Verdict: Prestia and Riewoldt out for McIntosh and Ralphsmith into the starting 22. - Callum Twomey

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Hugo Ralphsmith in action during the practice match between Geelong and Richmond at GMHBA Stadium on February 26, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

St Kilda decided to rule Paddy Ryder out on Tuesday afternoon, opting to bring the veteran ruckman back via the VFL instead of taking him underdone for the trip to Perth. It will mean Jack Hayes will definitely play again, not that he should have been in any doubt. Although the club didn’t think they could play all three – including Rowan Marshall – prior to last Friday night. Tom Highmore put his hand up to return to Brett Ratten's side following a strong showing in the VFL for Sandringham. Jarryn Geary passed a significant test by getting through 85 minutes against Collingwood in his return from a shoulder reconstruction. Jarrod Lienert played the first half at the AIA Centre before heading to Marvel Stadium to be an emergency, while Ben Long didn’t make much of an impact. 

 R1 medical substitute: Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (unused)

Verdict: With a handful of first choice players missing due to injury right now, the Saints can't afford to make changes despite a disappointing loss to start the year. Mitch Owens only played 49 per cent of the game and deserves more opportunity. Dean Kent struggled to make an impact. Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera could get a look this week. - Josh Gabelich

St Kilda's Paddy Ryder and Port Adelaide's Scott Lycett compete in the ruck during round 18, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Fresh off a derby win over GWS there would seem little reason to change ahead of Friday's match against Geelong at the SCG – but coach John Longmire has some big decisions ahead. Jake Lloyd and Chad Warner are expected to exit the League's health and safety protocols and will be automatic inclusions, meaning there'll be a couple of players missing out. Debutant Angus Sheldrick (eight disposals) would seem vulnerable for Warner, while Dylan Stephen (16 disposals) – despite a strong outing – could get lost in the shuffle for Lloyd's return, possibly pushing Josh Kennedy or Braeden Campbell further up-field.

R1 medical substitute: Colin O'Riordan (unused)

Verdict: Warner for Sheldrick and Lloyd for Stephens. Stephens to play as the medi-sub. - Michael Whiting

Sydney's Chad Warner in action during the AAMI Community Series game against North Melbourne on March 6, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Key forward Jack Darling is expected to play his first game this season after recently returning to the club and overcoming a foot complaint. He trained well on Tuesday and looks ready. Star midfielder Tim Kelly and premiership forward Liam Ryan are also available after a period in health and safety protocols, with the pair automatic selections if they get through training. Captain Luke Shuey was touch-and-go in round one and has been declared ready to return by medical staff, as has premiership defender Liam Duggan, who has been recovering from PCL surgery. Defender Alex Witherden has served a one-match ban and is available, leaving the Eagles with plenty to ponder at selection.   

R1 medical substitute: Isiah Winder (unused)

Verdict: Darling, Ryan, Kelly, Shuey and Witherden for Dixon, Langdon, O'Neill, Hough and Naish, who moves to substitute. - Nathan Schmook

Jack Darling at West Coast training in on January 14, 2022. Picture: westcoasteagles.com.au

After the drama surrounding last week's team selection at the kennel and the Dogs' penchant for a curveball it is difficult to know which way they will go after the defeat to Melbourne. Recruit Tim O'Brien is a chance to come in for his first game for the club after a hamstring injury in the pre-season, while they could look to Stefan Martin, who was a late omission last week. Ryan Gardner and Josh Schache could be on the fringe depending how the Dogs want to use their talls, while Robbie McComb is pushing for an AFL debut.

R1 medical substitute: Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (unused)

Verdict: O'Brien and Martin in for Schache and Gardner. - Callum Twomey

Tim O'Brien in action during a Western Bulldogs training session in December, 2021. Picture: westernbulldogs.com.au