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Melbourne Football Club

Players in the mix: round 17

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 17: Josh Wagner of the Demons in action during the 2016 AFL Round 04 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Melbourne Demons at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne on April 17, 2016. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 17: Josh Wagner of the Demons in action during the 2016 AFL Round 04 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Melbourne Demons at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne on April 17, 2016. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)

Winger Paul Seedsman will again come into contention to face his former side at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday night. Seedsman has missed the past three games with a hamstring injury sustained in the lead-up to Adelaide's round 14 clash with North Melbourne. He played the first 12 games of the season since joining the Crows from Collingwood in last year's trade period. Seedsman is averaging a career-high 18 possessions, four tackles and three inside 50ms per game, but it's tough to make changes to a team on a seven-game winning streak. Greater Western Sydney recruit Curtly Hampton had 15 possessions off a halfback flank in a solid club debut in the SANFL last weekend after being sidelined with foot surgery. Defender Luke Brown will miss another week with a groin injury. - Lee Gaskin

With 11 straight losses, coach Justin Leppitsch might look to keep shuffling his team for its arduous task of hosting Greater Western Sydney on Sunday. Darcy Gardiner (ankle), Daniel Rich (head) and Daniel Merrett (calf) all copped knocks against the Suns but are expected to play. Running defender Claye Beams and midfielders Ben Keays and Nick Robertson were all strong in the NEAFL, while Tom Cutler (hamstring) is on the brink of a return. - Michael Whiting 

The Blues need to replace suspended forward Levi Casboult, and Liam Jones, who has not played since round nine against North Melbourne, is a good chance to return against West Coast on Sunday. Veteran Michael Jamison and youngster Charlie Curnow got through their comebacks unscathed in the VFL against Geelong last Saturday. Curnow, who played four games earlier in the season before being grounded by glandular fever and a slight ankle complaint, finished with nine disposals, four marks and a goal. Jamison made a successful return from illness. Matthew Dick continued his good run of form with a team-high 29 possessions. Others to stand out for the Northern Blues were Jason Tutt (22 touches and a goal), Kristian Jaksch (21) and Dylan Buckley (19 and a goal). - Howard Kotton 

It's difficult to imagine the Pies making many changes to the team that shocked Greater Western Sydney, but hard nuts Tyson Goldsack, Marley Williams and Alan Toovey might be considered to help combat the Crows' multi-pronged attack at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night. Levi Greenwood and Mason Cox were both absent against the Giants while being "managed", with Greenwood likely to return while Cox is expected to resume in the VFL given the form of the tall timber. In the Pies' VFL team's 71-point win over North Ballarat at Eureka Stadium on Sunday, Tim Broomhead was best-afield, while Williams, Rupert Wills and Adam Oxley were also prominent. Youngsters Tom Phillips, Ben Crocker and Matthew Goodyear could also enter the frame- Ben Collins

Essendon will welcome back suspended midfielder David Zaharakis, who has served his one-game ban for his ‘tummy tap’ on West Coast’s Jackson Nelson. The Bombers will be tempted to blood top-10 pick Aaron Francis for his debut game after a string of impressive performances at VFL level. He was close to making his first senior appearance last week and should be well in contention. Essendon might also have ruckman Matthew Leuenberger to return from a knee injury against Richmond on Saturday after he was forced to sit out the loss to the Saints. Mason Redman, Shaun Edwards and James Polkinghorne are others who may push for senior consideration- Callum Twomey 

Changes will certainly be made after a poor performance against the Demons. Michael Barlow looks set to return after missing just one match following finger surgery. It will be a slight risk but he almost played last week.Peel Thunder had an equally poor day in the WAFL, kicking just one goal in atrocious conditions. But Zac Clarke made a case for a recall with 59 hit-outs and 16 disposals. Youngster Josh Deluca is in line for a debut after another solid performance in the WAFL. He gathered 26 disposals just days after being elevated off the rookie list and Ross Lyon said he was closing in on a call-up. Ethan Hughes made a successful return from a calf injury with 24 disposals for Peel and is in strong contention to return. - Alex Malcolm

Athletic ruckman Rhys Stanley will be discussed at selection after a solid VFL performance on Saturday, while the unlucky Shane Kersten responded to his demotion in the best fashion possible with four goals against the Northern Blues. The Cats might opt for some speed with Jed Bews being tried forward, while Cory Gregson has been in and out of the side all season. The Cats may also take the punt on Sam Menegola, bringing him in for his first game in familiar surroundings with the Cats playing his former club, Fremantle. - Peter Ryan

With their midfield decimated by the injuries to Michael Rischitelli (knee) and skipper Gary Ablett (shoulder), the Suns need to find some replacements to play the Western Bulldogs in Cairns on Saturday. Jesse Lonergan missed three weeks with a dose of glandular fever, but starred with 35 disposals in the NEAFL at the weekend and will come straight in. If Ablett misses, Mitch Hallahan could win a call-up. Jarrad Grant could also be a chance to play his former club.- Michael Whiting 

Running defender Nathan Wilson is a chance to return to the side to face the Brisbane Lions on Sunday, but will need to train strongly on Thursday to test his injured groin. The Giants missed his speed and foot skills in their disappointing loss to Collingwood last week. Upgraded rookie Daniel Lloyd starred in the NEAFL last week with 35 possessions and a goal, while Matthew Kennedy responded to his axing well, picking up 32 touches. Defender Harry Himmelberg, midfielder Jake Barrett and forward Sam Reid were also solid in the reserves, while key forward James Stewart kicked five goals and took 12 marks in a return to form. Key defender Caleb Marchbank (ankle) got through the game and had 22 touches, but is expected to play NEAFL again to increase his match fitness- Adam Curley

The one lingering fitness concern for the Hawks as they prepare for Thursday's mega SCG clash with the Sydney Swans is midfielder Liam Shiels, who sat out the second half of the win over Port Adelaide with hamstring tightness. If he fails to come up, the likely replacement is Jonathan O'Rourke who had 23 touches for Box Hill on Saturday before being rested for much of the second half, perhaps because of the five-day turnaround between the VFL and AFL. Tim O'Brien was a late withdrawal from the Port game because of illness, but ended up playing in the VFL. He was going well at AFL level and might yet be handed a recall. Brendan Whitecross racked up 33 touches in the VFL and is bashing down the door for selection, but will probably need to wait at least one more week. - Ashley Browne

Oscar McDonald is extremely unlikely to get up for Sunday's game against St Kilda after injuring his left ankle against Fremantle last Saturday. McDonald was on crutches immediately after the game, but it is understood scans have shown the injury is at the minor end of the scale. With McDonald sidelined, the Demons may turn to one of Lynden Dunn or Colin Garland to add some experience to what has been a young defensive unit for much of this season. Bernie Vince (shin) is a certain starter despite battling through the game against the Dockers. Young defender Josh Wagner should also come into the frame after missing the past two games with a knee injury. VFL affiliate the Casey Scorpions had another bye, although Viv Michie (31 disposals), Alex Neal-Bullen (27) and Clayton Oliver (24) were players to impress a fortnight ago and might get a look in. - Ben Guthrie

The 'will they, won't they' speculation surrounding stars Daniel Wells (calf)and Jarrad Waite (hip) is set to extend into another week, with Brad Scott unable to guarantee their availability to face Port Adelaide after the pair failed to get up for the loss to West Coast. Both are critically important, especially given North's lack of run in the west and with young gun forward Mason Wood hurting his knee. Wood's injury would normally push Aaron Black and Majak Daw back in the frame but an ankle injury in the VFL has Daw under a cloud, while Black didn't play at all for Werribee after suffering concussion two weeks earlier in an incident where he also hurt his ankle. Given the state of the list, there aren't many options to come in. Nick Dal Santo (illness) should return after his late withdrawal opened the door for Ryan Clarke's impressive debut, with the veteran possibly coming in for Farren Ray (hamstring). Robin Nahas should be back in the mix after travelling as the emergency to Perth, while Ed Vickers-Willis may be a chance to debut after playing well in the VFL. - Travis King

Reinforcements are on the way with ruckman Matthew Lobbe (knee) and midfielder Matt White (pectoral) set to return from long-term injuries. It'd be a big call to bring both straight back into the Power side for Saturday's encounter with North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium. The more likely scenario is to ease them back through the SANFL and build their match fitness. Vice-captain Brad Ebert will be assessed this week to see if he's recovered from a bruised lung. Midfielder Sam Gray pushed his claims for a senior recall racking up 37 possessions in the SANFL last weekend. Young ruckman Billy Frampton is also developing nicely with 23 hit-outs and 23 possessions in the reserves. - Lee Gaskin

Playing the kids in round 16 produced arguably the most exciting performance of the Tigers' season, and the youth-first approach should continue against Essendon on Saturday. Don't expect more than one or two changes after such an encouraging team effort. Ben Lennon has played two games at VFL level in his return from a shoulder injury and could be considered after racking up 23 possessions and four tackles. Nathan Drummond (20 possessions) will be discussed as an option but may need more time at the lower level in his comeback from a knee reconstruction. Kane Lambert (32 possessions) responded to being dropped in the best possible way and should be considered, while midfielder Shaun Grigg will need to pass a fitness test after suffering a minor knee injury against Port Adelaide in round 15 and missing one match. Ty Vickery went goalless in the VFL and would not be expecting a recall. - Nathan Schmook 

The return of Jack Billings from an ankle injury went to plan after he racked up 36 disposals and kicked two goals for Sandringham in the VFL. Jack Sinclair also won plenty of the ball, with 37 disposals and a goal. It was a good day for Jacks all round – Jack Lonie notched 27 disposals and slotted a goal. Eli Templeton was an emergency against Essendon and has been in excellent VFL form, while Jimmy Webster is nearing a comeback after a hamstring strain. Don't expect Paddy McCartin to return though. The club continues to take a conservative approach with the forward after his third concussion of the season. - Dinny Navaratnam

After a brilliant win over Geelong last week, changes at the Swans are likely to be minimal for their crunch clash with Hawthorn on Thursday night. Young star Isaac Heeney was managed last week but trained on Tuesday, so could be an inclusion to bolster the Swans' forward line. Midfielder Ben McGlynn had 25 touches, nine tackles and kicked two goals, while defender Jeremy Laidler was also good in the NEAFL after the pair were dumped last week. Midfielder Jordan Foote had 26 possessions and kicked two goals just days after he was upgraded to the senior list. Brandon Jack must be close to earning his first game of the season after he gathered 29 disposals and booted a goal, while speedy onballer Harry Cunningham had 23 touches and could be an option to give the Swans more speed against the Hawks. - Adam Curley

The Eagles have some real depth to work with after both the senior side and their WAFL team East Perth had dominant performances. The Eagles appeared to survive the win over the Kangaroos without an injury. It will be tough to make changes but a couple have put their hand up. Jack Redden backed up 28 touches and three goals last week with 34 disposals on Saturday to bang on Adam Simpson's door. Dom Sheed got through his second match in a row and collected 18 disposals in shocking conditions.  Eric Mackenzie kept his opponent possession-less until three-quarter time. Tom Cole collected 22 touches and a goal for East Perth and remains an outside chance. Jonathan Giles remains on standby but Simpson was very pleased with Scott Lycett and Mitch Brown in the ruck last week. Jackson Nelson and Liam Duggan are also in the mix. - Alex Malcolm

With Tom Liberatore cleared of internal damage following the win over Richmond, it would be surprising if the Bulldogs risked the brilliant playmaker for Saturday night's clash against the Gold Coast in Cairns. Mitch Honeychurch and Josh Dunkley loom as replacements if Liberatore doesn't come up after strong performances in the VFL. Once again, the forward line didn't make the most of it's ample opportunities, so expect Tom Boyd's club-imposed suspension to be lifted in the hope the key forward can help generate more goals. If Luke Beveridge is looking for another tall to combat the Suns' twin towers Tom Lynch and Peter Wright, first-year stopper Kieran Collins is ready to answer the call after another impressive performance for Footscray. Zaine Cordy could also be considered if his suspension is also lifted after solid form against Wright at under-18 level. Midfielders Lin Jong and Lukas Webb had quiet nights against the Tigers but should survive the axe. - Ryan Davidson