WHO IS a chance to play in round five?
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 R5 ins and outs. Check it out.
The Crows have few injury concerns, but Mitch Hinge is in doubt for their round five game with Richmond after coming off with a corked hip against Essendon. Will Hamill, Ben Davis, Josh Worrell and Wayne Milera would be among the like-for-like replacements for Hinge, should he not be deemed fit. Hamill has arguably the most compelling SANFL form, while Milera is still regaining his touch after two injury-cursed years. Midfielders Jackson Hately (35 disposals) and Sam Berry (26 disposals) continue to bang down the door in the SANFL. Adelaide's tall forward set-up is intriguing with Riley Thilthorpe kicking three goals in the SANFL, but they'll likely stick with Taylor Walker alongside Elliott Himmelberg and youngster Lachlan Gollant who only managed six disposals, three marks and one goal against the Bombers.
R4 medical substitute: Brayden Cook (replaced Mitch Hinge)
Verdict: Hamill for Hinge. – Ben Somerford
After a week on the sidelines through suspension, the Lions will welcome ruckman Oscar McInerney back into their team to play Collingwood on Thursday night. The tougher decisions for coach Chris Fagan might come elsewhere after a lot of players were down on their usual output against Geelong. Kai Lohmann has excelled at VFL level, with nine goals in three games, while Deven Robertson, Harry Sharp and Tom Berry are all knocking on the door. Keidean Coleman (hamstring) is also closing in on a return but might fall just short.
R4 medical substitute: Deven Robertson (unused)
Verdict: McInerney for Fullarton. - Michael Whiting
It could be a week of mass change at the Blues ahead of Sunday's fixture against the winless Power. Captain Patrick Cripps will go out of the team due to a hamstring injury, with Paddy Dow his likely replacement after a fine run of form in the VFL. The club is hopeful Marc Pittonet returns from a back problem, while Corey Durdin will come out of the AFL's health and safety protocols. He could replace Lachie Fogarty, who had just 10 touches on the weekend. Liam Stocker won 35 disposals in the VFL and is due to return from a syndesmosis issue, with Lachie Plowman the most likely to be replaced in the backline. Keep an eye on young duo Sam Philp and Jesse Motlop in the reserves over the next couple of weeks, while Oscar McDonald is another closing on a return from a back injury of his own. Jordan Boyd was the medical sub last week and could make way for Pittonet's spot in the 23.
R4 medical sub: Jordan Boyd (replaced Patrick Cripps)
Verdict: Pittonet, Durdin, Stocker and Dow into the 23 for Cripps, Fogarty, Plowman and Boyd.
Jordan Roughead is set to play for his first senior game of the season after returning from pre-season shoulder surgery via the VFL on the weekend. Jordan De Goey will return from suspension, while Taylor Adams is expected to play after exiting health and safety protocols on Tuesday morning. Nathan Kreuger will face Brisbane at the Gabba after missing the past two games with a shoulder injury. Craig McRae might also consider Mason Cox given the Pies' struggles in attack against West Coast. The American starred in the ruck against the Northern Bullants, finishing with 32 hitouts, 18 disposals and 1.2. Caleb Poulter also put his hand up for his first game of 2022 after collecting 21 disposals from two goals.
R4 medical substitute: Trent Bianco (replaced Jamie Elliott in the fourth quarter)
Verdict: At least three forced changes for the Pies, with Adams, De Goey and Kreuger to replace the unavailable Elliott, Jack Ginnivan and Brody Mihocek. Roughead set for his game of 2022 at the expense of Jack Madgen. - Josh Gabelich
The Bombers seem unlikely to make a host of changes after getting on the board for this season with a tight win over Adelaide last week. They will lose Will Snelling, who re-injured his calf and is set for several weeks on the sidelines, but Nik Cox could be available again after missing two weeks with an ankle injury he sustained against the Lions in round two. Devon Smith, last week's medical substitute, might also be a chance to break into the best 22, with Aaron Francis and Ben Hobbs on the cusp of selection.
R4 medical substitute: Devon Smith (replaced Will Snelling)
Verdict: Snelling out for Cox, Smith as substitute. - Callum Twomey
The Dockers have a selection squeeze with Caleb Serong (knee soreness) and Darcy Tucker (concussion protocols) expected to be available to return to bolster their midfield. Serong will likely replace Freo's pick 10 from the 2021 NAB AFL Draft, Neil Erasmus, who hasn’t done a lot wrong, while Tucker may need to settle for the sub role, with Nathan O'Driscoll excelling outside last week with 20 disposals and two goals in his absence. Backline leader Alex Pearce was a late withdrawal last round against GWS with his replacement Griffin Logue taking his opportunity with a good display, especially late. Fremantle will need to weigh up how many tall defenders they need, with Brennan Cox, Luke Ryan and Heath Chapman also capable of that role, meaning Pearce or Logue may miss out. The Dockers could omit small defender Brandon Walker for Pearce but that may leave them vulnerable on ground level against the Bombers.
R4 medical substitute: Bailey Banfield (unused)
Verdict: Serong and Pearce for Erasmus and Logue. – Ben Somerford
Joel Selwood (rested) and Tom Stewart (gastro) are both set to return after missing last Friday night's win over Brisbane. Shaun Higgins (concussion) and Esava Ratugolea (ankle) will undergo fitness tests later in the week but could be available given the late fixture. Cooper Stephens continues to bang on the selection door, waiting for a long-awaited debut. The former first-round pick collected 26 disposals and five tackles against Brisbane in the VFL last Friday afternoon. Rookie Ollie Dempsey continues to press his claims for a stunning early debut after being plucked from school footy, kicking four goals to be one of the best players in the VFL.
R4 medical substitute: Zach Guthrie (replaced Quinton Narkle in the third quarter)
Verdict: Selwood and Stewart to return for the injured Narkle and young gun Sam De Koning, who would be stiff to be squeezed out. - Josh Gabelich
A couple of injuries out of Sunday's win over Carlton means Stuart Dew will need to make at least one, and possible two, changes from his winning team to play St Kilda on Saturday. The Saints like playing with three tall forwards, so Jy Farrar's hamstring complaint – which will be tested later in the week - could pave the way for Caleb Graham to return. Jack Lukosius (knee) will miss, and his spot is a tricky one to fill as he splits time between the wing and forward line. Rory Atkins was the medi-sub last week, Jeremy Sharp is a wing specialist and Darcy Macpherson has been playing well in the VFL.
R4 medical substitute: Rory Atkins (replaced Farrar)
Verdict: Graham in for Farrar to take St Kilda's third tall forward and Sharp in for Lukosius to play wing. - Michael Whiting
The biggest hole ahead of playing premier Melbourne is filling the ruck spot left by suspended Braydon Preuss. The Giants have two men in form at VFL level though, with Matt Flynn and Kieren Briggs both going strongly over recent weeks. The fitness of Nick Haynes (ankle) will be monitored through the week, but providing he gets up, would pose the dilemma of dropping either a key defender, or key forward, with the possibility of shuffling Lachie Keeffe from back to forward.
R4 medical substitute: Adam Kennedy (unused)
Verdict: Flynn in for Preuss and Haynes, if he's fit, for Jake Stein. - Michael Whiting
Veteran midfielder Liam Shiels put his hand up for another opportunity after being dropped following round one. The three-time premiership player amassed 28 disposals and eight tackles for Box Hill at the MCG on Sunday. Wingman Tom Phillips has also fallen out of favour under Sam Mitchell, but could be back in contention after producing another strong showing in the VFL, this time the ex-Pie finished with 28 touches and a goal. Rookie Ned Long has been pressing his case and might be considered after laying 11 tackles to go with 15 touches against Sandringham. Chad Wingard is a chance to return from a deep cork calf, while Max Lynch will be available if he trains on Wednesday and Friday and completes his concussion protocols.
R4 medical substitute: Finn Maginness (replaced Will Day in third quarter)
Verdict: Lynch to get another chance at senior level at the expense of Day, who will miss with concussion. Shiels a chance to come in for James Worpel, who is coming off the lowest disposal tally of his career. - Josh Gabelich
It looked as though Ben Brown was on the cusp of a return, before being hit with a one-match ban for striking in the VFL over the weekend. That should mean Sam Weideman gets another AFL opportunity ahead of Saturday's clash with the Giants. Harrison Petty played limited minutes in the VFL last weekend and finished with seven marks from 14 disposals after returning from a calf injury, while Kade Chandler was lively for Casey and finished with two goals from five scoring shots. Finding spots for either player in the 22 will be difficult though, given the side's unbeaten start to the year.
R4 medical sub: Toby Bedford (unused)
Verdict: No changes for this weekend's fixture with the Giants.
The reinforcements are coming for the Kangaroos, but they won't arrive in time for a Good Friday fixture against the Bulldogs. Jed Anderson is expected to play limited minutes in the VFL this weekend after returning from a two-month conditioning block, while youngster Will Phillips should also return for his first competitive game of the season in the reserves after overcoming a glandular fever diagnosis. Tom Powell is also a chance to be fit after a minor calf issue, but will also likely return through the VFL. Expect at least one change for this weekend, with Cam Zurhaar going into the AFL's 12-day concussion protocols. Eddie Ford, back from the League's health and safety protocols, could be his replacement.
R4 medical sub: Aiden Bonar (replaced Cameron Zurhaar)
Verdict: Ford to replace Zurhaar
The winless Power have lost Brownlow medallist Ollie Wines for round five against Carlton, but veteran Robbie Gray is available following knee soreness and a stint in the League's health and safety protocols in a welcome boost. Trent Dumont should also come into the 22 having collected 12 touches after coming on for Wines against Melbourne at half-time on Thursday, before gathering 21 disposals in the SANFL on Saturday. Off-season recruit Jeremy Finlayson will be strongly considered after six goals in the SANFL, with Jed McEntee and Sam Mayes struggling for impact up forward. Ruckman Scott Lycett is a major doubt after dislocating his shoulder in round four but played on. If he's unavailable, Sam Hayes is in line for a debut. Backman Trent McKenzie was a late out in round four, replaced by winger Miles Bergman, so Sam Skinner or All-Australian Aliir Aliir, who has returned to training after ankle surgery, may be considered to add defensive balance.
R4 medical substitute: Trent Dumont (replaced Ollie Wines)
Verdict: Gray, Dumont, Finlayson and Hayes for McEntee, Wines, Mayes and Lycett. – Ben Somerford
Nick Vlastuin will have to get through this week at training to be deemed fit by the Tigers but should return for round five. It would make for an unlucky omission from Richmond's outfit that comfortably accounted for the Western Bulldogs on the weekend. Ben Miller could be the guy to miss, although not a like-for-like. Judson Clarke (four goals) was a VFL standout while Tyler Sonsie is also getting closer to his AFL debut. Sydney Stack may also be a chance to come in for the Tigers.
R4 medical substitute: Jack Ross (unused)
Verdict: Vlastuin in for Miller. - Callum Twomey
After three consecutive wins, it might be hard to make too many changes. But with veteran ruckman Paddy Ryder copping a two-game suspension, mature-age rookie Jack Hayes could return to the side to support Rowan Marshall in the ruck. The pre-season supplemental selection period signing played the first three games before being dropped for the clash against Hawthorn. St Kilda might consider Jack Higgins if he clears concussion protocols, but might find it difficult to change the forward line that kicked St Kilda's highest score since 2016. Jack Bytel and Leo Connolly are building strong cases in the VFL, while Mitch Owens is chasing a second chance.
R4 medical substitute: Ryan Byrnes (unused)
Verdict: Hayes to replace the suspended Ryder.
Lance Franklin will miss at least two weeks following finger surgery, but John Longmire has a tall forward bang in form to play West Coast at Optus Stadium on Friday night. Logan McDonald kicked 3.4 from 17 disposals and 11 marks in the VFL at the weekend, a week after kicking 4.3 at the same level. Joel Amartey also pressed his claims after being dropped, kicking four goals. Sam Wicks is expected to be available after clearing health and safety protocols, which leaves a tough decision after his replacement James Bell kicked two goals against North Melbourne.
R4 medical substitute: Ben Ronke (replaced Franklin)
Verdict: McDonald for Franklin. - Michael Whiting
West Coast have some important selection decisions after their shock round four win over Collingwood with availability on the improve. Luke Shuey (health and safety protocols) and Tim Kelly (hamstring) appear ready to return, while Elliot Yeo (calf) played 70 managed minutes in a WAFL pre-season game on Saturday and will also be considered.
Sam Petrevski-Seton also trained well on Monday after missing the Magpies win with a minor calf complaint, putting pressure on Jamaine Jones to hold his spot. Forward Jamie Cripps has been training for a few weeks after a pectoral injury in pre-season and may be considered. West Coast may be reluctant to make too many changes at once, especially with players returning underdone. The Eagles will need to replace ruckman Nic Naitanui, with Bailey Williams likely to come in and Hugh Dixon continuing as back-up ruck. Luke Edwards is expected to miss with a groin injury. Willie Rioli looked sore and wore protection on his left quad at Monday training but should be OK.
R4 medical substitute: Josh Rotham (replaced Luke Edwards)
Verdict: B.Williams, Kelly, Shuey and Cripps for Naitanui, L.Edwards, Hough and Waterman. – Ben Somerford
Zaine Cordy is likely to return for the Dogs from concussion and will be particularly handy given Alex Keath's hamstring injury. Mitch Hannan will be a test to see if he is in better shape to play this week after falling ill last week ahead of the clash with the Tigers. Mitch Wallis, who has been the medical substitute the past two weeks, could come in for Laith Vandermeer, who will miss with a hamstring strain, while Anthony Scott is also a chance to miss after experiencing migraines last week.
R4 medical substitute: Mitch Wallis (replaced Vandermeer)
Verdict: Wallis and Cordy in for Vandermeer and Scott. - Callum Twomey