WHO IS a chance to play in round 16?
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 R16 ins and outs. Check it out.
Injury to Shane McAdam (ankle) should open the door for exciting forward Tariek Newchurch to debut after booting 4.3 in the SANFL at the weekend. Playing midfield and forward roles at the lower level, he is a product of the Crows' Next Generation Academy and would benefit from exposure at this point of the season in a rebuilding team. Riley Thilthorpe is pushing to return from an ankle complaint, while Lachlan Gollant booted two goals in the SANFL. Chayce Jones should have an opportunity to be elevated from medical substitute. Midfielder Matt Crouch responded to being dropped with a 42-disposal, 10-clearance game in the SANFL, while Lachlan Sholl had 32 and nine inside 50s.
R15 medical substitute: Chayce Jones (replaced Will Hamill)
Verdict: Newchurch, Thilthorpe and Jones for McAdam, McHenry and Hamill. – Nathan Schmook
This promises to be one of the more intriguing selections for the Lions this season after they were soundly beaten by Melbourne last week. Captain Dayne Zorko (hamstring) and dynamic half-forward Zac Bailey (health and safety protocols) should both return to face the Western Bulldogs on Thursday night. Although Jarryd Lyons was cleared of broken ribs, his injury status will be closely monitored, with Rhys Mathieson continuing to put pressure on for selection with 43 disposals and two goals in the VFL. Darcy Fort and Kai Lohamnn could also be considered, as could last week's medical sub Cal Ah Chee.
R15 medical substitute: Cal Ah Chee (replaced Jarryd Lyons)
Verdict: Bailey for Tom Berry, Zorko for Jimmy Tunstill (pushing Hugh McCluggage to a more primary wing role) and Mathieson for Lyons (if he's not fully fit). – Michael Whiting
The Blues should regain Adam Cerra (hamstring) for Friday night's crunch match against the Saints. He could take the place of last week's late inclusion, Jesse Motlop, which would likely see Zac Fisher return to half-forward despite flourishing in the midfield against the Dockers. Jordan Boyd (foot) is facing an uphill battle to play again this season, with Liam Stocker his most likely replacement after winning 28 disposals and 10 marks in the VFL last week. Lachie Fogarty (back), Jack Martin (calf) and Matt Owies (calf) are all tests to play, but might find it difficult to slot straight back into the senior team. Jacob Weitering (shoulder) is still another week away, meaning Brodie Kemp should hold his spot.
R15 medical substitute: Will Setterfield (replaced Jordan Boyd)
Verdict: Cerra and Stocker to replace Motlop and Boyd. – Riley Beveridge
Jordan De Goey is on track to return against Gold Coast after returning to training on Tuesday afternoon. Mid-season recruit Josh Carmichael is banging on the door for an AFL debut after producing another strong showing in the VFL. This time the 22-year-old collected 24 disposals and four clearances to put his hand up for an opportunity. Might not be the week, but won’t be too far away. Fin Macrae and Callum Brown keep putting their hands up, while Caleb Poulter, Trey Ruscoe and Aiden Begg were included in the 26-man squad against GWS. Charlie Dean played his first game of the season after overcoming a foot injury, but the key defender might need some game time before he is available for senior selection.
R15 medical substitute: Trey Ruscoe (unused)
Verdict: Tough to make too many changes to a side that has won five on the trot. With De Goey set to return, Isaac Chugg was the last one in last week and might be squeezed out after making his debut. – Josh Gabelich
The Bombers are coming off a disappointing loss to West Coast as inaccurate goalkicking again proved costly. In a boost, Darcy Parish should be ready to return from the corked calf he suffered in round 13. Parish's return could give the Bombers a chance to rest Ben Hobbs, who has played 10 straight games and impressed since his debut. After again opting to play a smaller defence, Essendon saw Josh Kennedy kick five and Jack Darling 2.2 last week, making a return for Zach Reid – who was among Essendon's best last time against Sydney – or Brandon Zerk-Thatcher needed against the likes of Lance Franklin, Sam Reid and Logan McDonald. Jye Menzie kicked four in the VFL and could be pushing for a debut, while Aaron Francis returned to defence.
R15 medical substitute: Brayden Ham (unused)
Verdict: Parish in for the rested Hobbs and Reid to replace Nick Bryan, with Peter Wright to support Sam Draper in the ruck. – Dejan Kalinic
Coach Justin Longmuir highlighted the midfield mauling against Carlton as a key concern, but the coach is more likely to back the group to respond than swing the axe at this stage. The loss of forward pressure is also a worry, and Michael Walters should address that if he returns from a hamstring complaint as expected. Mitch Crowden can also provide defensive pressure midfield or forward and was an unused medical substitute against the Blues, with medium forward Sam Sturt travelling as an emergency. In the WAFL, Neil Erasmus (24 disposals and a goal) is the most likely to earn elevation if midfield changes are made. Ruckman Lloyd Meek (28 hitouts) could be an option if playing two rucks becomes appealing again.
R15 medical substitute: Mitch Crowden (unused)
Verdict: Walters for Banfield, who moves to medical substitute. – Nathan Schmook
The Cats will be forced to replace the suspended Tom Stewart, but might not make too many other changes to the side that defeated Richmond in the classic at the MCG. Patrick Dangerfield hasn’t been ruled out yet but could require another week to recover from the calf issues that have hampered him this season. Gary Rohan is expected to be available after being a late withdrawal against Richmond due to illness. Shaun Higgins found some touch in the VFL with 23 disposals and could still play a role in the road to September. Cooper Stephens put his hand up for another opportunity after being left out of the 22, collecting 28 disposals, five clearances and a goal. Quinton Narkle hasn’t been in the 22 since round nine but is in the mix again after picking up 26 touches against Richmond’s VFL side. Ollie Dempsey and Francis Evans also impressed in the reserves, while Esava Ratugolea kicked two goals. Mid-season recruit Zane Williams also made an impact.
R15 medical substitute: Cooper Stephens (unused)
Verdict: Rohan to come back in to the side after missing the past fortnight, replacing Stewart. – Josh Gabelich
The Suns will be forced into at least one change for Saturday night's match against Collingwood at Metricon Stadium following the knee injury suffered by Alex Davies. Connor Budarick should return after he missed the loss against Port Adelaide with a hamstring injury, while Jack Lukosius (knee) could be available after a lengthy stint on the sidelines. Rory Atkins again did well in the VFL, while veteran defender Rory Thompson has now played a couple of matches at the lower level following a knee injury.
R15 medical substitute: Brayden Fiorini (replaced Alex Davies)
Verdict: Budarick for Davies, pushing Oleg Markov to the wing and Sam Flanders forward. Lukosius (if fit) for Chris Burgess. – Michael Whiting
Ruckman Braydon Preuss is available for Sunday's match against Hawthorn after serving his one-match suspension. With the VFL team having a bye last weekend and no one expected back from a lengthy injury list, Mark McVeigh might be reluctant to make too many changes. Jarrod Brander has been around the mark, while unused medical sub Callum Brown has been in good form at the lower level and could be considered.
R15 medical substitute: Callum Brown (unused)
Verdict: Preuss for Lachie Keeffe. – Michael Whiting
Jack Gunston, Chad Wingard and Will Day are all looking to prove their fitness and book their spots on the trip to Sydney this weekend. Josh Ward made an impressive return in the VFL after more than a month on the sidelines due to concussion but might need another run before he is considered for senior selection. Finn Maginness impressed at Box Hill with 24 touches, seven tackles and five clearances against Footscray. Denver Grainger-Barras and Jackson Callow were included in the 26-man squad, along with Maginness.
R15 medical substitute: Josh Morris unused
Verdict: Gunston, Wingard and Day to return if they prove their fitness. Josh Morris and Liam Shiels could be forced out, while Jacob Koschitzke could be in trouble given he has had a quiet patch after a great return to the senior side. – Josh Gabelich
The Demons returned to winning ways with a thumping victory over the Lions last Thursday night. With captain Max Gawn (ankle) still at least another week away from returning, it could mean the reigning premier takes an unchanged lineup into this weekend's clash with the Crows. Mitch Brown (21 disposals, 10 marks, 6.6 goals) enjoyed a stellar day in the VFL last weekend, while Jake Melksham (21 disposals, two goals) was also impressive on his return to the reserves side. But don't expect either to get straight back into this team.
R15 medical substitute: Jayden Hunt (unused)
Verdict: No changes for Saturday's road trip against Adelaide. – Riley Beveridge
The Kangaroos will be forced into at least one change for Saturday night's clash against the Cats, with Bailey Scott (hip) set to miss the next fortnight at least. However, Lachie Young will return from suspension and should be recalled as his replacement on a wing. Last week's medical sub, Flynn Perez, is another option. Callum Coleman-Jones had 25 disposals and 26 hitouts in an impressive VFL outing, while Jack Mahony also put his name forward for a recall with 21 touches and two goals. Tarryn Thomas has been in the spotlight after his three-disposal game against the Crows last week, but it is worth the club persisting with the youngster.
R15 medical substitute: Flynn Perez (replaced Bailey Scott)
Verdict: Young to replace Scott. – Riley Beveridge
Defenders Darcy Byrne-Jones and Tom Clurey will clear health and safety protocols this week and be available to return against Fremantle, with the former to cover the absence of injured backman Riley Bonner (cheekbone). Zak Butters is a strong chance to return from a medial ligament for the Sunday afternoon clash, with forward Orazio Fantasia also pushing his case now and offering speed in the front half, getting plenty of opportunities but booting 0.4 in the SANFL. Ruckman Scott Lycett has made a rapid recovery from shoulder surgery after being listed as up to five weeks away last round, leaving question marks over whether he would be rushed in. Fellow ruckman Dante Visentini had 27 hit-outs and a goal in the SANFL, while half-back Miles Bergman had 13 disposals and six rebound 50s.
R15 medical substitute: Sam Mayes (unused)
Verdict: Byrne-Jones, Clurey, Butters and Fantasia for Bonner, McKenzie, Motlop and Mead. – Nathan Schmook
Richmond will need to cover Dion Prestia, who will miss with concussion. Inclusion Jack Ross should hold his spot after a fine performance, while it remains to be seen if Kane Lambert will be included for this weekend's match against West Coast as he manages a chronic hip injury. Jake Aarts (24 disposals, seven clearances, two goals) was one of Richmond's best in the VFL, while Jason Castagna kicked three goals to go with his 13 and 10 tackles.
R15 medical substitute: Ivan Soldo (replaced Dion Prestia)
Verdict: Lambert to be rested another week, Castagna for Prestia, with Liam Baker to remain in the midfield. – Sarah Black
St Kilda is set to regain star duo Bradley Hill and Paddy Ryder after they missed the trip to Sydney last weekend. The pair have been embroiled in controversy this week, but trained on Tuesday afternoon. Tom Highmore continues to put his hand up for an opportunity at AFL level. The Canberra product amassed 35 touches and 13 marks in Sandringham’s loss to Sydney. Jack Higgins made an impact around the ball after struggling in attack early, after being left out of the side to face the Swans. Jarrod Lienert was the carryover emergency, while Darragh Joyce was the medi-sub.
R15 medical substitute: Darragh Joyce (unused)
Verdict: Ryder and Hill to return for Cooper Sharman and Dan Butler. – Josh Gabelich
Coach John Longmire has some speed at his disposal ahead of Saturday's game against Essendon at the MCG with Justin McInerney and Harry Cunningham both due back from the League's health and safety protocols. Ruckman Peter Ladhams has also served his one-match suspension and could be considered to partner Tom Hickey, while Joel Amartey (5.2 from 23 disposals) and James Bell (32 touches) both put their hand up with strong VFL performances.
R15 medical substitute: Lewis Taylor (unused)
Verdict: Cunningham for Ryan Clarke and McInerney for Robbie Fox. – Michael Whiting
Star ruckman Nic Naitanui looks ready to return after one match in the WAFL, with the prospect of sharing duties with Bailey Williams and playing slightly managed minutes. Richmond's dangerous key forwards and ruck pairing should also convince the Eagles to call on tall defender Harry Edwards after he had an incredible 23 marks in the WAFL as a dominant interceptor. Midfielders Greg Clark (27 disposals and seven inside 50s) and Xavier O'Neill (27 and five) are pushing hard if more changes are made or, in O'Neill's case, youth is prioritised. Another week in the WAFL after a long spell with a knee injury could also be beneficial. Alex Witherden (27 and 12 marks) impressed in the WAFL after being the unused medi-sub.
R15 medical substitute: Alex Witherden (unused)
Verdict: Naitanui and Edwards for Callum Jamieson and Josh Rotham. – Nathan Schmook
The Dogs will lose Ed Richards for this week’s trip to Brisbane due to concussion, with last week’s substitute Lachie McNeil in the mix to replace him in the starting 22. Lachie Hunter is also a chance to come into the side after performing well at VFL level, with coach Luke Beveridge saying the Dogs will consider him. The club will blood a debutant in Dom Bedendo for the important game against the Lions, with a couple of changes expected.
R15 medical substitute: Lachlan McNeil (replaced Ed Richards)
Verdict: Bedendo and Hunter in for Richards and Josh Schache. - Callum Twomey