Adelaide Crows

Get them in: Young forward Elliott Himmelberg is the front-runner to replace the injured Josh Jenkins for Friday night's blockbuster with Geelong at GMHBA Stadium. Ruckman Sam Jacobs and forward Darcy Fogarty are other options. Riley Knight, Myles Poholke and Bryce Gibbs are options to replace utility Wayne Milera if he's ruled out with a back injury.

Under the pump: Don't expect the Crows to make any unforced changes.

Medical room: Milera will have to get through main training on Wednesday. Jenkins is out for two to four weeks with a knee injury.

Verdict: One change – Himmelberg in for Jenkins. Milera should play, but Knight is the logical replacement to provide forward pressure if he's out. - Lee Gaskin

Brisbane Lions

Get them in: Another thumping win for the NEAFL team saw Zac Bailey return in style and Corey Lyons and Ben Keays keep pressure on the senior team.

Under the pump: Hard to think anyone is under pressure after a complete team performance against the Saints.

Medical room: Lewy Taylor (ankle) is expected to be available, while young leader Jarrod Berry (knee) will likely return through the NEAFL after missing four weeks.

Verdict: No need for the Lions to change a winning team. - Michael Whiting


Get them in: Having been dropped the week prior, Jack Silvagni pushed for an instant recall with 26 disposals, 11 tackles and three goals a fortnight ago in the VFL. Midfield duo Matt Kennedy and Darcy Lang were also among the major ball winners.

Under the pump: Does youngster Paddy Dow need a stint in the VFL to recapture some form and confidence? He had just nine disposals the last time the Blues played.

Medical room: Carlton will finally have Liam Jones available for selection, after the defender missed seven weeks with lingering concussion symptoms. Ed Curnow will be fit, despite rolling his ankle a fortnight ago. The Blues expect mid-season recruit Josh Deluca to return from a hamstring injury, though it will likely be through the VFL.

Verdict: You would think Jones earns a recall, though it's unclear who he replaces. Levi Casboult has been in good form since his switch into defence, while Jacob Weitering is a lock. It could leave Caleb Marchbank or Lachie Plowman in the firing line. - Riley Beveridge

Liam Jones is finally ready to resume playing. Picture: AFL Photos


Get them in: Defender Matt Scharenberg has been terrific in the VFL and comes into focus given Jeremy Howe's calf injury, while the creative Josh Daicos and would-be first-gamer Isaac Quaynor are also in contention to take on North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.

Under the pump: Brody Mihocek has been a terrific recruit for the Pies but is now being challenged to reassert himself after a solid return from fellow tall forward Reid.

Medical room: Howe (calf) is out for two to three weeks, while small forward Jamie Elliott (hamstring) will miss another one and midfielder Taylor Adams (adductor) has been ruled out for two more.

Verdict: Scharenberg would be a strong replacement for Howe. - Ben Collins


Get them in: Essendon's VFL side had a number of strong performers over the weekend. Aaron Francis kicked four goals in an impressive showing, while Will Snelling booted three goals and could press for selection, particularly given Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti's inconsistent form at AFL level. 

Under the pump: After his early concussion last week, Matt Guelfi will be carefully monitored this week. He has passed his concussion test but is still sore so could be touch-and-go to face the Giants on Thursday night.

Medical room: Jake Stringer will miss as he continues to nurse a lower leg injury he suffered against Hawthorn in round 13. Orazio Fantasia is also sore so will be in some doubt as he continues to pick up some injury niggles this year.

Verdict: Snelling, the mid-season draft addition at Essendon, could be in line for his Bombers debut, particularly if Fantasia doesn't get up for the Giants. – Callum Twomey

Orazio Fantasia's injury could open the door for a shock debut for Will Snelling. Picture: AFL Photos


Get them in: The Dockers' big-man depth is being tested after Jesse Hogan (foot) went down but Cam McCarthy is set to return against Carlton after six games out of the line-up. Youngster Adam Cerra should also be back for Stephen Hill. Veteran small forward Hayden Ballantyne (two goals for Peel) and Bailey Banfield (32 disposals) also have their hands up.

Under the pump: Not many, given the gutsy effort two men down on the road against the Demons.

Medical room: There will be a watch on half-back Nathan Wilson (ankle) and ruckman Sean Darcy (ribs), although both played out the loss to Melbourne.

Verdict: McCarthy and Cerra in for Hogan and Hill. Ballantyne for Michael Walters, if his one-game suspension stands. - Travis King

THINGS WE LEARNED The player Freo can't afford to lose

Geelong Cats

Get them in: Lachie Fogarty's charge continues, collecting 27 disposals in his sixth VFL game back from hip surgery. Scott Selwood (32) is knocking on the door, while Charlie Constable (34), Sam Simpson (27) and Wylie Buzza (three goals) impressed again. James Parsons and Zac Smith were the travelling emergencies but now haven't played for two weeks.

Under the pump: Darcy Fort booted two goals but finds himself down the pecking order with all ruck/forward options available. Jordan Clark (14 disposals) and Gryan Miers (six disposals) lacked impact.

Medical room: After his second concussion of the season, Gary Rohan will be closely monitored off the six-day break. Esava Ratugolea will be passed fit to return from a hamstring concern, however Sam Menegola is at least a fortnight away.

Verdict: Ratugolea for Fort and Fogarty for Rohan. Should Clark miss out, expect Parsons and Scott Selwood to be next in line. - Mitch Cleary

Gold Coast Suns

Get them in: No NEAFL match at the weekend, but Chris Burgess played well the previous week after being dropped from the seniors, as did Brad Scheer.

Under the pump: Experienced George Horlin-Smith struggled against the Saints before the bye.

Medical room: Vice-captains Touk Miller and Pearce Hanley are set to return after missing time with quad injuries. Izak Rankine will likely return through the NEAFL.

Verdict: Some difficult decisions this week. If Hanley is available, Horlin-Smith would likely make way, pushing Callum Ah Chee to a wing. Miller's return would mean there'd be an unlucky omission in the midfield, possibly Nick Holman. - Michael Whiting

GWS Giants

Get them in: The Giants have a host of in-form players in line to come in for the injured Matt de Boer, with draftee Jackson Hately, and forwards Zac Langdon and Daniel Lloyd all ready for a recall. All three won plenty of footy and hit the scoreboard in the NEAFL a fortnight ago.

Under the pump: After such an important win over North Melbourne before the bye coach Leon Cameron's line-up is likely to remain settled.

Medical room: Star runner Lachie Whitfield did some training on Monday as he recovers from collarbone surgery so isn't far away, once he increases his contact work over the next couple of weeks.

Verdict: Cameron doesn't have another tagging option to replace de Boer, so he will have to rely on his midfielders sharing the load against Essendon defensively. Lloyd's ability to play forward and in the midfield gets him the nod ahead of Langdon. - Adam Curley

Matt de Boer's injury leaves coach Leon Cameron with a selection headache. Picture: AFL Photos


Get them in: Midfielder James Cousins responded to his demotion with 32 disposals in a best-on-ground performance in the VFL that could earn him an instant recall. Mitch Lewis and Jackson Ross kicked just a goal apiece, but are other contenders, along with Ollie Hanrahan after his three-goal hit-out. Dan Howe's been an emergency in recent weeks.

Under the pump: Lots of Hawks in this company after seven players failed to reached double digits in possessions last week. In danger could be Paul Puopolo (one kick), Kaiden Brand and Harry Morrison, who's been dropped twice this season.

Medical room: Chad Wingard (hamstring) was still on limited duties on Tuesday, whereas Jack Scrimshaw (knee) was able to do a bit more. They will both miss at least one more game. Cousins, Jarryd Roughead, Grant Birchall, Marc Pittonet and Harry Jones were others who had a light workout. Birchall played the first half in the VFL last weekend in his long-awaited return and will look to increase his game time second-up. Changkuoth Jiath (jaw) will miss up to a month after copping a knee to the head playing for Box Hill.

Verdict: Cousins for Morrison, and possibly Hanrahan for Puopolo. Could the Hawks opt for Lewis or Ross to replace Brand, with James Sicily returning to a full-time defensive role? - Marc McGowan

AROUND THE STATE LEAGUES Veteran Hawk back, young Cat sizzles


Get them in: Experienced backman Jordan Lewis racked up 40 disposals in the VFL, Corey Maynard returned from concussion with 26 and a goal, while wingmen Jay Kennedy Harris and Kade Kolodjashnij had 22 and 21 respectively.

Under the pump: It's tough to change a winning team but Harrison Petty and Josh Wagner could be at risk of dropping out, considering the potential inclusions.

Medical room: In defence, Jake Lever needs to overcome bone bruising in his reconstructed left knee and Michael Hibberd is a chance after his collarbone issue.

Verdict: Lever is unlikely to be fit, which saves Petty, considering the Lions have three talls up forward. Wagner probably makes way for Hibberd though. - Dinny Navaratnam

Jake Lever appears set to miss another week. Picture: AFL Photos

North Melbourne

Get them in: Neither ball-winner Paul Ahern nor Kyron Hayden played in the VFL in the game before the bye, but both are pushing for a senior call-up. First-year draftee Joel Crocker also continues to impress and is likely to earn a promotion at some stage this year. Ben McKay is four games back from injury and looking to grab back his AFL place.

Under the pump: Sam Durdin seems unlikely to hold his spot, with experienced defender Jamie Macmillan set to return from a calf injury.

Medical room: There could be some relief in store for the Roos. Macmillan (calf), Dom Tyson (calf) and Sam Wright (ankle) are in line to play this weekend. Only Macmillan is likely to be in AFL contention. Tom Wilkinson is also edging closer to full fitness from his long-term ankle complaint. Shaun Higgins (AC joint) is still about three weeks away, while Bailey Scott (foot) and Aaron Hall (knee) remain without a return date.

Verdict: Taylor Garner is the subject of a club investigation into a barfight during the bye, so could lose his spot. Ahern and Macmillan for Garner and Durdin. - Marc McGowan

FANTASY FORM WATCH Bye byes, hello normality

Port Adelaide

Get them in: Midfielder Willem Drew and ruck/forward Peter Ladhams are the frontrunners to come into the side for Saturday night's clash with the Western Bulldogs after winger Karl Amon and swingman Dougal Howard were suspended. Midfielder Tom Rockliff is an outside chance, but he's more likely will play in the SANFL. Veterans Justin Westhoff and Paddy Ryder, and midfielder Sam Powell-Pepper are other options, along with forwards Todd Marshall and Billy Frampton. Defender Jarrod Lienert could also be recalled if the Power want to go taller in defence.

Under the pump: Perhaps the only unforced change could see defender Joel Garner omitted to bring in Lienert for more height in the backline to match up on the Dogs potentially playing three talls in attack.

Medical room: Rockliff could return from a hamstring injury, but since he hasn't played since round 10, he could benefit from a run in the SANFL.

Verdict: Drew, Ladhams and Lienert to replace Amon, Howard and Garner. Westhoff and Ryder could do with a game in the SANFL before being recalled, while Powell-Pepper misses out with Dan Houston doing a great job in the midfield the past two weeks. - Lee Gaskin

Willem Drew could return in place of the suspended Karl Amon. Picture: AFL Photos


Get them in: A host of top-tier players – Trent Cotchin, Shane Edwards, David Astbury, Ivan Soldo and possibly Kane Lambert – are good chances to return this week, depending on whether they get through training. The VFL team had a bye in line with the AFL side, but Shai Bolton was in good form during the side's last game.

Under the pump: After playing every game this year, Jack Higgins may be in line for a run in the VFL after a few quiet performances. Daniel Rioli was subdued for three terms but had a sparky last quarter in the middle, while Connor Menadue falls behind several returning players.

Medical room: A bye round means no additional injuries at Punt Road. Jayden Short is a chance to return after dislocating his elbow in round three, but after a long stint on the sidelines he is more likely to come back through the VFL.

Verdict: Change is coming. Soldo to come in for Mabior Chol, who was lively forward but struggled in the ruck. Ryan Garthwaite to make way for Astbury, while Edwards could take Menadue's spot. Cotchin for Higgins, while Dan Butler could make way for Lambert, if fit. - Sarah Black

Trent Cotchin headlines a number a star Tigers in line for return. Picture: AFL Photos

St Kilda

Get them in: Youngster Ben Paton collected 22 disposals in the VFL, as did key defender Darragh Joyce, while Nick Coffield had 19. Bailey Rice picked up 18, laid eight tackles and booted a goal.

Under the pump: Just about everyone after the Brisbane game. Jack Newnes, Jonathon Marsh, David Armitage would be particularly nervous.

Medical room: Tough onballer Jack Steele isn't far away as he recuperates from a dislocated kneecap while defenders Jimmy Webster (right hand) and Brandon White (thigh) also need to prove their fitness.

Verdict: Newnes' consecutive games streak of 123 to be broken, replaced by Paton. If Webster is right, he takes Armitage's spot, and a fit White comes in for Marsh. - Dinny Navaratnam

BARRETT The data simply hasn’t changed enough for Richo

Sydney Swans

Get them in: Tall forward Tom McCartin was held out of the reserves' win over Canberra last week and will come in for injured superstar Lance Franklin. Young gun James Rowbottom continues to press hard for a recall with some stunning NEAFL form, while veteran Kieren Jack was solid in his return from a hip injury, and Robbie Fox also dominated the lover level.

Under the pump: The Swans travelling pretty well with four wins from their past six games, so coach John Longmire is unlikely to make any unforced changes. 

Medical room: Franklin is likely to miss at least four matches and will target the round 19 clash against Geelong at the SCG for his long-awaited 300th game. Callum Sinclair (concussion) and Isaac Heeney (corked thigh) pulled up well from last week's win over Hawthorn.

Verdict: McCartin is fresh and ready to replace Franklin inside 50 in what will be the only change. - Adam Curley

West Coast Eagles

Get them in: The expected return of star ruckman Nic Naitanui will be a massive boost against Hawthorn at the MCG this Saturday, while key defender Tom Barrass should also be back depending on the severity of a corked calf he picked up in his WAFL return. Willie Rioli and Nathan Vardy are available after suspensions.  

Under the pump: Expectations are the Eagles will pick Tom Hickey to partner Naitanui, which could squeeze emerging tall Oscar Allen out to balance the side. Defender Jackson Nelson and Jarrod Cameron (two goal) performed against Essendon but might also be forced out.  

Medical room: Barrass' calf and Jeremy McGovern's suspension – which West Coast is challenging – means there are a few balls in the air.

Verdict: Naitanui, Barrass and Rioli return for Allen, McGovern and Cameron. - Travis King

Nic Nat is back. Picture: Getty Images

Western Bulldogs

Get them in: Footscray suffered a shock 23-point loss to Collingwood in the VFL, a performance that failed to produce standouts. Midfielder Rhylee West was the only Bulldogs player to have more than 20 disposals with 25, while Lewis Young looked assured in defence. After being omitted, Toby McLean was held over as an emergency and didn't play at any level.

Under the pump: Despite a nine-point defeat to the second-placed Magpies, there was a lot to like from the Bulldogs on Sunday. Ruckman Tim English had a torrid time against All Australian Brodie Grundy for the second occasion in 2019, but recent form means he's not in any real selection trouble.   

Medical room: Veteran defender Dale Morris is set to feature at VFL level as he approaches a remarkable return from a pre-season ACL injury. Five other players currently occupy the injury list, none of which will be available this week.

Verdict: Hard to see any changes. McLean didn't have an opportunity to put pressure on a recall to the senior side and West is still being groomed. - Paul Bastin