WHO IS a chance to play in round 13?
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 R13 ins and outs. Check it out.
One big inclusion for the Lions this week as they prepare to face St Kilda on Saturday night, with full-forward Joe Daniher back after six weeks out with a shoulder injury. Daniher’s return means a tough decision though, with one of Oscar McInerney, Darcy Fort, Eric Hipwood or Dan McStay having to make way against a Saints team that boasts the two-pronged ruck threat of Rowan Marshall and Paddy Ryder. Darcy Gardiner (ribs) is likely to miss, meaning either Jack Payne or Ryan Lester come into the frame. Rhys Mathieson (46 disposals, including 17 clearances) had a mammoth VFL game and is also knocking on the door if a midfielder needs to be rested.
R12 medical substitute: Callum Ah Chee (replaced Darcy Gardiner)
Verdict: Daniher and Payne for Fort and Gardiner (if he’s unavailable) - Michael Whiting
The Blues have a conundrum down back, with Jacob Weitering set to miss the next six weeks with a shoulder injury. Caleb Marchbank will play, marking his first game in nearly three years, but do they opt for Brodie Kemp to support both he and Lewis Young? Or, could mid-season rookie recruit Sam Durdin be another option to play an immediate role? Matthew Kennedy should return from a quad issue thanks to last week's bye and could take the role of Jack Newnes, who was quiet in the side's defeat to the Magpies and is likely behind fellow wingmen Matt Cottrell and Lochie O'Brien in the pecking order. Jack Martin is also on the cusp of a return, with developing small forward Jesse Motlop the most likely to make way for him. Sam Philp has shown good signs in the VFL recently and is another pressing for a senior recall. Harry McKay is making a quicker-than-expected recovery from a knee injury, but Friday night's clash with the Bombers might come a couple of days too soon.
R12 medical substitute: Bye
Verdict: Marchbank, Kennedy and Martin to replace Weitering, Newnes and Motlop. - Riley Beveridge
Jamie Elliott is set to return after missing Sunday's win over Hawthorn due to illness. Trey Ruscoe and Isaac Chugg were named in the 26-man squad against the Hawks. Trent Bianco, Finlay Macrae, Caleb Poulter and Callum Brown all found a bit of the ball against Gold Coast at the AIA Centre, but don't expect Craig McRae and the match committee at the Pies to make too many changes ahead of Queen's Birthday.
R12 medical substitute: Tyler Brown, replaced Reef McInnes
Verdict: Elliott in for Reef McInnes. Hard to make too many changes to this side right now. - Josh Gabelich
The Bombers are set for a much-needed boost for their huge clash with arch rival Carlton on Friday night, with Jake Stringer (hamstring) available to play his first game since round seven. Fellow hamstring victim Matt Guelfi will return after recovering from the strain he suffered against Richmond in round 10, but Andrew McGrath is less certain to take his place against the Blues after 'tweaking' his groin during a weekend training session during the bye. Alec Waterman and Tex Wanganeen look the most likely pair to make way for the returning forward duo.
R12 medical substitute: Brayden Ham (unused)
Verdict: Stringer and Guelfi in for Waterman and Wanganeen, McGrath to be named pending a fitness test. - Michael Rogers
The Dockers' match committee faces a selection squeeze the envy of the competition this week. Dual Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe will return after one WAFL match, and midfielder Darcy Tucker is the logical player to make way. But Fremantle must also find room for key forward Matt Taberner, who has recovered from a back complaint, and gun small forward Sam Switkowski, who has served a two-match suspension. Michael Walters is also ready to return after experiencing hamstring tightness, meaning there will be some seriously unlucky Dockers making way. To maintain selection integrity, Bailey Banfield should be undroppable after a brilliant four-goal performance, but a club suspension for Michael Frederick will ease the squeeze somewhat. Griffin Logue could hold the key to unlocking the rest of the puzzle, moving back into defence and replacing Ethan Hughes and allowing another forward to return. Logue was excellent against Brisbane, but there are too many forwards to squeeze in and he can play on talls and smalls in defence.
R12 medical substitute: Mitch Crowden (unused)
Verdict: Fyfe, Taberner, Walters and Switkowski for Tucker, Meek, Frederick and Hughes – Nathan Schmook
Following their round 12 bye the Giants have some familiar faces available to face North Melbourne on Sunday. Lachie Whitfield (ankle) will train fully on Friday after missing the past two matches and is expected to put his hand up for selection, while Nick Haynes and Adam Kennedy both missed playing Brisbane in round 11 through illness. Phil Davis (hamstring) is still a week away from returning. Callan Ward will need to pass the final stages of his concussion protocol to maintain his place.
R11 medical substitute: Xavier O’Halloran (replaced Callan Ward)
Verdict: Whitfield and Haynes for Lachie Keeffe and Bobby Hill - Michael Whiting
Max Lynch and Jack Scrimshaw could both return for the trip to Perth if they can pass concussion protocols this week. Lynch has missed the past fortnight after copping a head knock against Brisbane in round ten. Finn Maginness (35 disposals, four clearances and a goal) and James Worpel (31 disposals, 13 clearances and five tackles) both starred for Box Hill, while Josh Morris continues to hunt for an opportunity at AFL level. Denver Grainger-Barras was omitted for the clash against Collingwood in favour of Kyle Hartigan, who performed strongly on Sunday.
R12 medical substitute: Daniel Howe unused
Verdict: Lynch and Scrimshaw to return for Jack Gunston and Connor MacDonald - Josh Gabelich
The Demons desperately needed Steven May back, but he will serve an internal one-match suspension for drinking while in the AFL's 12-day concussion protocols. Defensive issues could be compounded if Harrison Petty can't prove his fitness after a knock to the shoulder. There are also problems in attack, with club's forward line hardly firing on all cylinders and with Tom McDonald out for an extended period due to a foot injury. Ben Brown and Mitch Brown were both held goalless and to just 12 disposals between them last week. But with Sam Weideman needing a consistent run of games in the VFL, Simon Goodwin is left with an unenviable selection decision. Trent Rivers was dropped for last week's defeat to the Swans, but responded well with 26 disposals and seven marks in the reserves.
R12 medical substitute: Toby Bedford (unused)
Verdict: Weideman to replace Mitch Brown, with Rivers on standby if Petty can't get up. - Riley Beveridge
The Kangaroos suffered another 10-goal loss last week and will now lose key defender Ben McKay to the AFL's 12-day concussion protocols. Aaron Hall is expected to train fully this week and could return from a long-term hamstring injury, while Atu Bosenavulagi has been a regular sub recently and could be another option to take his place. New mid-season rookie recruit Kallan Dawson would also have been an obvious candidate to come into the side, but he is dealing with a minor foot injury and won't play before the bye. Jaidyn Stephenson had 24 disposals in the VFL last week, while Charlie Lazzaro finished with 24 touches and six tackles, though there were few AFL-listed players to impress. Don't expect to see Aiden Bonar (hamstring), Jared Polec (foot) or Cam Zurhaar (foot) before the bye.
R12 medical substitute: Atu Bosenavulagi (replaced Ben McKay)
Verdict: Bosenavulagi to replace McKay, with Hall to be given an extra week to recover thanks to the bye. Stephenson or Lazzaro to fill the sub role. - Riley Beveridge
A talented group of young players have found themselves on the outer at Port and are pushing for selection in the SANFL. Among them are Mitch Georgiades, who had 20 disposals and two goals with the Magpies but can't fit in the 22 at AFL level in an already tall forward line. Xavier Duursma (19 and four clearances) has also been squeezed off a wing, with Miles Bergman (17 and five clearances) playing two SANFL games since returning from injury. Jackson Mead (23 and nine tackles) and regular medical substitute Martin Frederick (20) are also after more opportunities. The versatile Lachie Jones, who was the substitute against Essendon in round 11, might get the nod this week without many obvious changes. Getting this young group into the 22 and performing at AFL level will be important for the Power in the second half of the season though.
R11 medical substitute: Lachie Jones (unused)
Verdict: Jones for Motlop - Nathan Schmook
Kane Lambert (hip), Noah Balta (hamstring) and Marlion Pickett (migraine) should all be available for selection after missing the Tigers' loss to Sydney before the bye. Robbie Tarrant could be the one to make way for Balta, while Jack Ross may be forced out by Lambert. Coach Damien Hardwick flagged Pickett had missed a bit of footy recently, and replacement winger Hugo Ralphsmith was fairly impressive against the Swans.
R11 medical substitute: Noah Cumberland (unused)
Verdict: Lambert and Balta in for Ross, Tarrant and sub Cumberland – Sarah Black
St Kilda's match committee will have a difficult week ahead of the trip to Brisbane. Both the Saints and Sandringham had the bye last weekend, but Hunter Clark and Jack Higgins are both available after exiting health and safety protocols. Higgins hasn’t played in a month after suffering a second concussion of 2022 in round nine. Dan Butler is hunting for another opportunity after kicking five goals for the Zebras in the his outing, while Jack Billings also responded strongly after being dropped with 25 touches against North Melbourne's VFL side. Tom Highmore and Jarrod Leinert have also been ultra consistent for Jake Batchelor's side.
R12 medical substitute: Bye
Verdict: Higgins to come in for Cooper Sharman. Clark for Marcus Windhager. - Josh Gabelich