Touk Miller, Jeremy Cameron and Jeremy McGovern. Pictures: AFL Photos

WHO IS a chance to play in round 17?

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 R17 ins and outs. Check it out.

The Crows have an incredibly stable team right now but will be forced to make a change in defence after 198cm key backman Jordon Butts entered concussion protocols. The Crows will look at tall replacements like the untried James Borlase, who took 13 marks in the SANFL, and Irishman Mark Keane. They will also consider a smaller line-up against Essendon, which could see Patrick Parnell or Will Hamill considered. Other standouts in the Crows' SANFL team were Matt Crouch, who remained prolific with 36 disposals and six clearances, Sam Berry (24) and Jackson Hately (24 and eight inside 50s). – Nathan Schmook 

R16 sub: Lachlan Sholl (replaced Jordon Butts) 

Mark Keane during an Adelaide training session in February, 2023. Picture: AFC

For a team that's won three straight matches and is about to face cellar dweller West Coast on Saturday, Brisbane has quite a few decisions to make. Forwards Callum Ah Chee (concussion) and Lincoln McCarthy (suspension) are unavailable, as is midfielder Josh Dunkley (calf). Former skipper Dayne Zorko is fit and available, while youngster Kai Lohmann should also come under consideration. Jack Gunston was named as an emergency last week, with he and Daniel Rich now a month into their training block. Jarryd Lyons is a standout candidate after dominating the VFL all season, while untried Blake Coleman has impressed in recent weeks. - Michael Whiting

R16 sub: Darcy Fort (replaced Josh Dunkley)

Callum Ah Chee leaves the field during the R16 clash between Brisbane and Richmond at the Gabba on June 29, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

The Blues will put ruck duo Tom De Koning (knee) and Marc Pittonet (knee) through fitness tests at main training on Friday, with both deemed a genuine 50/50 chance to face the Dockers on Sunday. Matt Cottrell will return from a one-match suspension, but Paddy Dow (29 disposals, three goals) has entered the 12-day concussion protocols after copping a knock in the dying stages of an impressive VFL performance last weekend. Jesse Motlop (23 disposals, four goals) was also among the best, while Jaxon Binns (29 disposals, one goal) continues to stake his claim for a senior debut. George Hewett was the sub last weekend and could add another hardened body to the midfield mix. – Riley Beveridge

R16 sub: George Hewett (replaced Charlie Curnow)

Tom De Koning and Sam Draper compete in the ruck during Carlton's clash against Essendon in round 13, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

Jordan De Goey has served his three-game suspension and will return against the Western Bulldogs on Friday night, but Craig McRae has some selection headaches. The queue to get in the 23 is around the block. A spot has opened with Brody Mihocek ruled out due to hamstring tightness. Nathan Kreuger won't be the one to replace him after he entered concussion protocols following an incident in the VFL. Dan McStay didn't play due to illness and might need some time in the VFL before returning to the senior setup. Ash Johnson was named in the 26 against Gold Coast but didn't fire in the VFL. Reef McInnes booted six goals from 15 disposals and seven marks. Fin Macrae was strong again with 27 disposals, 10 tackles and a goal against Frankston. Josh Carmichael produced his best showing in a month with 22 disposals and three goals in the big win at Kinetic Stadium. Trent Bianco, Ed Allan and Trey Ruscoe also made an impact down in Frankston but good luck getting into the ladder leaders right now. - Josh Gabelich

R16 sub: Harvey Harrison (replaced Jeremy Howe)


There is some pressure for spots beginning to build at Essendon, which suffered a heartbreaking after-the-siren loss to Port Adelaide in round 16. Dylan Shiel made his return from injury as the sub, replacing Jye Menzie (eight disposals). Sam Weideman (nine disposals, five marks) went goalless for the fifth straight game but did provide ruck relief with Sam Draper (hip) sidelined, while Peter Wright (six disposals) also struggled to impact in the wet. Will Snelling (14 disposals) spent a decent amount of time on the wing against the Power. No.5 pick Elijah Tsatas played his best VFL game yet with 35 disposals, eight tackles and six clearances in a one-point win over Gold Coast as Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (18 disposals, nine tackles) kicked a match-winning point after the siren. Nick Bryan (15 disposals, 38 hitouts) had another good game, Nick Hind (23) was busy and Alwyn Davey jnr (23, seven tackles, five clearances) also impressed as Nik Cox (17, one goal) continued his push for a senior spot. – Dejan Kalinic

R16 sub: Dylan Shiel (replaced Jye Menzie)

The Dockers need a big body in the midfield to replace the minutes injured Nat Fyfe was playing at the coalface, with Will Brodie the best option at WAFL level. Substitute Neil Erasmus brings good pressure and attack on the ball and could be elevated, while giving forward/ruck Luke Jackson more centre bounces as a ground level midfielder could be an option. Others impressing with Peel Thunder are potential debutant Karl Worner (29 disposals), who can play wing or half-back, and Corey Wagner (24), who would bring speed and an attacking mindset to the backline. Forward Sam Sturt was an emergency against the Western Bulldogs and is the best goalkicking option in reserve to replace Fyfe. – Nathan Schmook 

R16 sub: Neil Erasmus (replaced Nat Fyfe)

Will Brodie in action during Fremantle's clash against Gold Coast in round five, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Geelong could regain Jeremy Cameron for Sunday's game against North Melbourne after missing last week due to concussion. The Coleman Medal winner will need to be cleared by the medical staff later in the week. Sam Menegola hasn't played at AFL level since round 22 last year and has managed only seven appearances since 2021, but has now played two VFL games and is closing in on a return. Mark O'Connor is expected to return to play on the day compatriot Zach Tuohy breaks the Irish games record, after missing the game against Sydney due to a minor adductor injury. Oisin Mullin is also pushing to play after a decent outing in the VFL. Mitch Knevitt put his hand up for another shot in Chris Scott's side by collecting 20 disposals, 12 tackles, four clearances and a goal in the curtain-raiser at the SCG. Brandan Parfitt has been on the outer this season but performed strongly in the VFL again with 24 touches. - Josh Gabelich

R16 sub: Jack Bowes (replaced Esava Ratugolea)


Dual All-Australian Touk Miller is right in the frame for a return this week should he get through training and would be a huge inclusion for the Suns as they prepare to face Port Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval. The big question though is how hard will Stuart Dew go following last week's horror loss against Collingwood? Alex Davies did well in the VFL at the weekend, while Mabior Chol and Chris Burgess have been regular goalkickers at the lower level. Tom Berry had 12 tackles at the weekend if Dew is looking for more defensive intensity, while Charlie Constable had 25 disposals to continue a strong run of form. - Michael Whiting

R16 sub: Rory Atkins (replaced Hewago Oea)


The Giants will regain Lachie Whitfield from a one-match suspension ahead of this Saturday's clash with the Hawks. Brent Daniels (hamstring) is also a chance to return, but will need to undergo a stringent fitness test later this week in order to play. James Peatling (27 disposals, six tackles) was among the best at VFL level, while veteran defender Phil Davis (24 disposals, four marks) was a standout after returning from a calf complaint. – Riley Beveridge

R16 sub: Ryan Angwin (replaced Daniel Lloyd)

Lachie Whitfield during the match between Greater Western Sydney and Fremantle at Giants Stadium in round 14, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Sam Mitchell will look to make some changes after Hawthorn was pumped by Carlton on Sunday. Jarman Impey was a late out with a back injury but is expected to return. Tyler Brockman missed due to illness and should also be available for selection. Changkuoth Jiath played managed minutes for Box Hill in his first game since round nine and showed enough to suggest he is ready to return at AFL level, after finishing with 26 touches against Port Melbourne. Denver Grainger-Barras was thrown forward and kicked four goals in a new role at Box Hill. Cam Mackenzie responded strongly to being axed with 23 disposals, five tackles and two goals. Henry Hustwaite continued to put his hand up for a debut with 22 touches, six clearances and a goal. - Josh Gabelich

R16 sub: Finn Maginness (replaced Lloyd Meek)


Is this the week we finally see Clayton Oliver make his return from a lingering hamstring injury? He's been out of action since round 10, but coach Simon Goodwin said this week he was "really hopeful" the gun midfielder would be available for the clash with St Kilda. There'll be at least one forced change to the side that went down to Greater Western Sydney, with club leading goalkicker Bayley Fritsch facing a significant stint on the sidelines after fracturing his foot. Jake Melksham had immediate impact after coming on as the sub to replace Fritsch and could have earned himself a spot in the starting 22 to replace Fritsch. However, young forward Jacob van Rooyen, omitted for the returning Ben Brown, also put his hand up for a recall to the forward line after booting four goals in the VFL, while James Jordon (41 disposals, seven clearances) can't do much more at VFL level as he vies to earn a regular spot in the senior side. – Alison O'Connor

R16 sub: Jake Melksham (replaced Bayley Fritsch)

Clayton Oliver in action during Melbourne's training session at Casey Fields on June 29, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

The Kangaroos will put Tom Powell (ankle) and Liam Shiels (calf) through fitness tests later this week, but both appear unlikely to feature against the Cats on Sunday. Tristan Xerri (29 disposals, 31 hitouts) dominated in the VFL last week and could be a ruck option, especially given veteran Todd Goldstein was subbed out of last week's defeat to the Crows. Cooper Harvey (20 disposals, five goals) must be on the cusp of an AFL debut, while Dan Howe (32 disposals, seven tackles) is a more experienced option after impressing at reserves level. – Riley Beveridge

R16 sub: Hugh Greenwood (replaced Todd Goldstein)


Perhaps the biggest question for Ken Hinkley as his team searches for a 13th straight win when hosting Gold Coast on Saturday night, is who will ruck against Suns co-captain Jarrod Witts? With Scott Lycett (knee) missing, Dante Visentini was given a go against Essendon last week before being subbed out, while Sam Hayes is the other option. Xavier Duursma got through his first game in eight weeks at the weekend, kicking two goals from 18 disposals in the SANFL, while captain Tom Jonas has now played four matches at the lower level. - Michael Whiting

R16 sub: Jase Burgoyne (replaced Dante Visentini)


The Tigers have already confirmed three changes for their Thursday night clash with Sydney. Key-position player Jacob Bauer and winger/half-back Sam Banks will make their debuts after a series of consistently strong performances in the VFL, while Dustin Martin will return after illness. Banks is likely to swap in for Jayden Short (hamstring). After four disposals against the Lions, it might be Ben Miller making way for Bauer, while as last one in, Noah Cumberland could be the unlucky first one out to allow Martin's return. – Sarah Black

R16 sub: Hugo Ralphsmith (replaced Jayden Short)


St Kilda is sweating on the availability of Seb Ross and Bradley Hill after they suffered knee injuries in the win over West Coast. Josh Battle has entered concussion protocols and won't be available against Melbourne on Saturday night. Ross Lyon could turn to Tom Highmore (22 touches and six tackles) or recall Zaine Cordy (17 disposals and seven marks). Zak Jones appears good to go for his first AFL game of the season after collecting 35 touches, 10 clearances and seven tackles in the loss to Werribee. Ben Paton also responded strongly to being dropped with 31 touches at Avalon Airport Oval. Tom Campbell and Jack Peris were both included in the 26-man squad and travelled to Perth.  - Josh Gabelich

R16 sub: Cooper Sharman (replaced Josh Battle)


There is some selection pressure building at the Swans, who were left to rue missed chances in a draw with the Cats last week. Lance Franklin will return from a knee injury for what may be his final game at the MCG, likely replacing Joel Amartey (managed), while Sam Wicks is also available after his suspension. Chad Warner will remain sidelined with the calf injury that saw him miss last week. Sydney also has a decision to make over Tom McCartin, who played in the VFL again and had 22 disposals and 10 marks. McCartin would likely replace one of Aaron Francis or Lewis Melican. Having drawn a game they should have won, it's unlikely the Swans will make many unforced changes for the clash against Richmond on Thursday night. – Dejan Kalinic

R16 sub: Ryan Clarke (unused)

Tom McCartin during Sydney's match against GWS in R7, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

The Eagles will welcome back star midfielder Tim Kelly after he missed one match with illness, with experienced defender Jeremy McGovern also considered a strong chance to play his first game since round three after a long recovery from hamstring surgery. Midfielder Luke Edwards (illness) should also be available, while Luke Foley (hamstring) is close to returning but may need one more week. If Jack Darling (shoulder) can't get through main training, young ruckman Harry Barnett may get his chance to play a full game after making his debut as the substitute against St Kilda. – Nathan Schmook  

R16 sub: Harry Barnett (replaced Jack Darling)

Jeremy McGovern looks on during West Coast's match simulation against Port Adelaide on February 24, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Ed Richards could return two weeks ahead of schedule for Friday night's big game against Collingwood at Marvel Stadium. Oskar Baker went back to VFL level and had 23 touches against Coburg. Sam Darcy kicked three goals in his return from a fractured jaw and will be considered in the weeks to come. Buku Khamis produced his best game in some time with four goals for Footscray. Josh Bruce and Arty Jones were both included in the 26-man squad against Fremantle but played in the VFL. - Josh Gabelich

R16 sub: Rhylee West (replaced Mitch Hannan)

Ed Richards looks on during the R12 match between Western Bulldogs and Geelong at Marvel Stadium on June 3, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos