L-R: Clayton Oliver, Aliir Aliir, Dustin Martin. Pictures: AFL Photos

WHO IS a chance to play in round 22?

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 R22 ins and outs. Check it out.

After being managed for Saturday's win against Gold Coast, forward Luke Pedlar should be available to return and replace injured midfielder Chayce Jones. The Crows are also hopeful dynamic forward Izak Rankine can get through main training this week and return from a hamstring injury. Former skipper Rory Sloane was also influential when injected as the substitute, presenting an option for elevation this week. The SANFL side had a week off, but recent form suggests midfielders Sam Berry and Brayden Cook will be discussed at match committee. – Nathan Schmook 

R21 sub: Rory Sloane (replaced Chayce Jones)

Izak Rankine celebrates a goal during the R16 match between Adelaide and North Melbourne at Adelaide Oval on July 1, 2023

A couple of regulars are due back from injury to face Adelaide on Saturday in Keidean Coleman (eye) and ruckman Oscar McInerney (ankle). Both missed the win against Fremantle and just have to get through main training on Thursday to regain their spots. The VFL team had a bye at the weekend, but Deven Robertson (sub against the Dockers) and Jarryd Lyons are strong midfield candidates if Chris Fagan wants some extra depth in that part of the ground. - Michael Whiting

R21 sub: Deven Robertson (replaced Jaspa Fletcher)

Oscar McInerney handballs during the match between Melbourne and Brisbane at the MCG on July 14, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

The Blues expect midfield duo Adam Cerra (hamstring) and Sam Walsh (hamstring) to miss another week at the very least, so don't expect them to return for Saturday night's crucial clash with the Demons. It should mean that Paddy Dow holds his place after 22 disposals and a goal against the Saints last Sunday. Jordan Boyd (suspension) is available, but Zac Fisher had 32 disposals and four clearances across half-back last week and deserves to hold his place. Corey Durdin (shoulder) should return this week, but it may be at VFL level. The club's reserves side had the bye over the weekend, so there is no exposed form to pick from. - Riley Beveridge

R21 sub: Ed Curnow (replaced Lachie Fogarty)

Paddy Dow celebrates a goal during Carlton's win over St Kilda in round 21, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Craig McRae will be required to make at least two changes ahead of Friday night's game after losing Nick Daicos and Nathan Murphy. Billy Frampton is expected to return after being pulled out of the VFL game on Sunday. Will Hoskin-Elliott was also left out of the 23 and had his game time managed against Werribee at Avalon Airport Oval. Jack Ginnivan kicked a couple of goals to push his case for a recall, while Mason Cox went back to the VFL and amassed 46 hitouts, 15 touches and a goal. - Josh Gabelich

R21 sub: Oleg Markov (replaced Tom Mitchell)


The Bombers survived a huge scare to edge West Coast in round 21 and they take on North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Saturday. Essendon's small forwards Jye Menzie (eight disposals) and Matt Guelfi (seven) struggled to have an impact and were held goalless, while Jake Kelly (14) was quiet as he again played on the wing. It remains unclear how much longer Sam Draper (hip), Dylan Shiel (foot) and Jake Stringer (foot) will remain sidelined. Will Setterfield (20 disposals) made his return from injury in the VFL and could be an important inclusion and Tex Wanganeen (four goals) and Patrick Voss (three) both hit the scoreboard. – Dejan Kalinic

R21 sub: Alwyn Davey jnr (replaced Jye Caldwell)


Experienced key forward Matt Taberner booted three goals in the WAFL and, depending on match fitness, could be called on to support young pair Jye Amiss and Josh Treacy as Luke Jackson roams as the No.1 ruck. In defence, the Dockers will need to replace the injured Ethan Hughes and have the option of the experienced Nathan Wilson or young half-back/wingman Karl Worner. Giving promising mid-season recruit Ethan Stanley more exposure in the final rounds should be considered, while big-bodied midfielder Will Brodie is pushing to return for his first game since round seven after having 31 disposals and a goal in the WAFL. – Nathan Schmook

R21 sub: Matthew Johnson (replaced Ethan Hughes)

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

Geelong will need to replace Jack Henry after he suffered a foot injury in Saturday night's win over Port Adelaide at GMHBA Stadium. Tom Hawkins is yet to be ruled out of Friday night's game against Collingwood after missing on the weekend due to a hamstring. Jed Bews and Sam Menegola were included in the 26-man squad but didn't play at any level due to the VFL bye on the weekend. - Josh Gabelich

R21 sub: Brandon Parfitt (replaced Jack Henry)

Jack Henry during the R21 match between Geelong and Port Adelaide at GMHBA Stadium on August 5, 2023. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Interim coach Steven King has a decision to make on who replaces Wil Powell (ankle) ahead of Saturday's trip to the SCG to face Sydney. Jy Farrar could revert to defence to cover, while Charlie Constable, who started the season at half-back, could also be an option. Connor Budarick has now played a few games following knee surgery and could also be considered. Brayden Fiorini and Alex Davies have played well in the VFL. - Michael Whiting

R21 sub: James Tsitas (replaced Elijah Hollands)


The Giants have a shortage of small forwards ahead of Sunday evening's pivotal clash with the Power, given both Toby Bedford (suspension) and Brent Daniels (suspension) are unavailable. Aaron Cadman (11 disposals, three goals) could give Adam Kingsley a taller option after impressing in the VFL last week, while Conor Stone (12 disposals, two goals) also pushed for a recall. Josh Fahey (26 disposals, one goal) was another to put his hand up for selection in the reserves. Finn Callaghan (soreness) will undergo a fitness test, but looks unlikely, while Braydon Preuss (back) could make his long-awaited comeback in the VFL. - Riley Beveridge

R21 sub: Ryan Angwin (replaced Jake Riccardi)


Sam Mitchell banked the best win of his short coaching career against Collingwood, and could have some more options to take down to Launceston this weekend. Karl Amon, Sam Frost and Tyler Brockman all missed due to injury and could be available to face the Western Bulldogs. The Box Hill Hawks had the bye and didn't play a practice match against Carlton's VFL side that was initially planned. Lloyd Meek, Sam Butler and Bailey Macdonald were all included in the 26-man squad against Collingwood. - Josh Gabelich

R21 sub: Cam Mackenzie (replaced Seamus Mitchell)

Karl Amon in action during the round 19 clash between Hawthorn and Richmond at the MCG on July 22, 2023. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Clayton Oliver has finally been declared "right to go" after being absent since round 10 with a lingering hamstring problem. The midfield gun will face a fitness test later in the week before getting his final clearance. Harrison Petty (foot) has been ruled out for the season with a Lisfranc injury and leaves big shoes to fill in the Demons' forward line, but there's a few options at their disposal. Swingman Joel Smith could go forward, meaning Adam Tomlinson would likely be recalled to replace Smith down back, or now could be the time for the Demons to unleash their Brodie Grundy forward experiment. Ben Brown would have been another option but is sidelined with a knee injury. It's been flagged that he will return via the VFL, however Tom McDonald (ankle) could be thrown back in the mix at the top level sooner rather than later as he is the most likely of the lot to figure in the Demons' forward plans in the absence of Petty come finals. – Alison O'Connor 

R21 sub: Michael Hibberd (replaced Harrison Petty)


The Kangaroos will put a plethora of players through fitness tests later this week to determine their availability for Saturday's clash with the Bombers. George Wardlaw (hamstring) is an outside chance to feature, while Tom Powell (leg) could also be made available. However, Liam Shiels (calf) will miss another week while Cooper Harvey (shoulder) has undergone surgery and won't play again this year. There are question marks around when Callum Coleman-Jones (concussion) will return. Expect mature-aged duo Dan Howe (25 disposals, four goals) and Hugh Greenwood (24 disposals, 12 tackles) to be in the selection frame after impressive performances at reserves level, while Kallan Dawson (18 disposals, 11 marks) was also solid in the VFL. - Riley Beveridge

R21 sub: Charlie Lazzaro (replaced Robert Hansen jnr)


The cavalry is coming for Port ahead of Sunday's crunch clash with Greater Western Sydney at Adelaide Oval. Aliir Aliir and Lachie Jones will likely be back from concussion, perfect timing to cover for Trent McKenzie (knee), while Jeremy Finlayson, Miles Bergman and Kane Farrell are all progressing from the illness that kept them out of Saturday's loss against Geelong and are expected back. Power forward Charlie Dixon will need to prove his fitness at main training later in the week to prove he has overcome a foot injury. - Michael Whiting

R21 sub: Jackson Mead (replaced Trent McKenzie)


The Tigers are set to make multiple changes for their clash against St Kilda on Sunday, coming off a disappointing loss to the Western Bulldogs. Dustin Martin (soreness), Trent Cotchin (soreness) and Dylan Grimes (neck) are all in line to return after missing round 21. Jacob Hopper (concussion) will miss, while Daniel Rioli (ankle) is facing a fitness test. Jacob Bauer (four disposals, one goal) was quiet in what was a poor team performance against the Bulldogs. Tyler Sonsie (31 disposals and eight clearances) played well in the VFL, while Thomson Dow (24 and seven) was also busy, with Judson Clarke (shoulder) now ruled out for the rest of the season. – Dejan Kalinic

R21 sub: Rhyan Mansell (replaced Jacob Hopper)

Trent Cotchin runs out ahead of the R20 match between Richmond and Melbourne at the MCG on July 30, 2023. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Max King returned on Sunday but Ross Lyon still has some other key forward options to consider after Tim Membrey produced his best performance of the year in a 99-point smashing of the Northern Bullants in the VFL. Membrey kicked 4.2 from 20 disposals and 12 marks. Jack Hayes also took another step in his return from a long lay-off. Jack Peris kicked a couple of goals from 20 touches. Jack Bytel amassed 35 touches, while Nick Coffield finished with 25 possessions and six marks. Jack Billings was the carryover emergency after being left out of the 23 against Carlton. - Josh Gabelich

R21 sub: Liam Stocker (replaced Mattaes Phillipou)


The race to replace the suspended Braeden Campbell is likely between Matt Roberts and Corey Warner, who continued their hot VFL form last week, and Dylan Stephens, who did his chances no harm with an impressive late showing as the sub against the Giants. Lewis Melican might be ready to return from a hamstring problem, although Aaron Francis did little wrong down back last week. Dane Rampe is set to miss another week with a calf issue. Mid-season recruit Jack Buller continues to find the goals at VFL and is ready to go if needed. - Martin Smith

R21 sub: Dylan Stephens (replaced Logan McDonald)

Corey Warner during Sydney's training at the SCG on July 19, 2023. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Changes will be minimal this week after the Eagles impressed on the road against Essendon and backed that up with a significant win at the Tribunal on Tuesday night, overturning a one-match ban for ruckman Bailey Williams. The Eagles could look at speedster Jamaine Jones this week if he passes a final fitness test after recovering from a nasty ankle injury in round 10, while defender Rhett Bazzo is available after being managed against the Bombers. Retiring greats Shannon Hurn and Luke Shuey have both been ruled out this week. – Nathan Schmook

R21 sub: Greg Clark (replaced Jack Williams)

Jamaine Jones runs with the ball during West Coast's clash against Carlton in round seven, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

Luke Beveridge could have a couple of key defenders to consider ahead of Sunday's game against Hawthorn in Tasmania. Alex Keath is expected to be available after missing last Friday night due to concussion. Ryan Gardner is also a chance to be available for selection. The Dogs will need to replace Anthony Scott after he suffered a concussion against the Tigers. Oskar Baker put his hand up for a recall with 22 disposals and a goal against North Melbourne. Toby McLean pressed his case again with 31 disposals, seven clearances and a goal at ETU Stadium. Buku Khamis kicked 2.2 after being included in the 26-man squad. - Josh Gabelich

R21 sub: Arthur Jones (replaced Anthony Scott)

Alex Keath in action during the R20 match between the Western Bulldogs and GWS at Mars Stadium on July 29, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos