Some mouthwatering fixtures await us in Round 19 as we look towards the release of the Thursday night teams.
Tune into The Match Committee with Terry Wallace and Sam McClure from 6pm in preparation for the teams dropping at 6:25pm AEST.
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Young Bombers forward set for senior recall
Exciting forward Aaron Francis is set to play his first senior game this season against Sydney tomorrow night after impressing in the VFL. Francis has played five games since being drafted to the Bombers in 2015, but looks to have finally broken back into John Worsfold’s plans. Has been playing across half-back and through the midfield in the VFL.
Jake Stringer and Conor McKenna have both been passed fit to feature against the Swans. Stringer has missed the last two matches with a calf strain but has proved his fitness at training this week.
McKenna withdrew last week with a groin complaint but is now available for selection.
Veteran Swans to return?
Veteran Kieren Jack is continuing to recover from his medial ligament strain and will be given every chance to play in tomorrow night’s encounter against Essendon. Forward Gary Rohan has been ruled out after breaking his hand playing in the NEAFL last weekend, while veteran defender Heath Grundy is in the mix to return after inexplicably being left out of last week’s shock defeat to Gold Coast.
Young Tigers to debut in Pies blockbuster?
Richmond youngsters Liam Baker and Patrick Naish both trained with the senior squad and are in contention to debut in tomorrow’s blockbuster against Collingwood.
Coach Damien Hardwick says they’re both in his thoughts but the magnitude of the match could influence his final decision.
Defender Bachar Houli has been ruled out of playing football at any level this weekend as the club take extra caution in his recovery from a groin injury. Star duo Shane Edwards and Dustin Martin are likely starters after suffering knocks against the Saints.
Who will replace the injured Magpies star De Goey?
Alex Fasolo is in the mix to replace the injured Jordan De Goey for Saturday’s monster clash against Richmond.
De Goey will miss two weeks with bone stress in his lower leg.
Defender Darcy Moore is a chance to return after being a late withdrawal last week with hamstring tightness.
Jamie Elliott will play at VFL level again as he continues his comeback from a lengthy injury lay-off.
Versatile Cat unlikely to return
Veteran utility Harry Taylor looks set to miss another week due to his persistent foot injury.
Taylor has missed the last two games, but Chris Scott confirmed that the club is still “lacking clarity” about when he will return to the side.
Star Lions defender to return from concussion
Harris Andrews will return after missing the last four matches with concussion following that heavy incident with Giants forward Jeremy Cameron.
Luke Hodge is also a chance to feature in this weekend’s match against the Cats as he recovers from a calf injury.
Ryan Bastinac, Tom Bell and Rohan Bewick continue to press their claims for a senior recall with strong NEAFL showings.
Trio of Giants face tests
Defenders Aidan Corr, Sam Taylor and veteran midfielder Ryan Griffen will need to prove their fitness before being considered for this weekend’s match against St Kilda.
Corr (groin), Taylor (corked leg) and Griffen (hamstring) all missed last weekend’s victory over Port Adelaide and need to get through fitness tests if they’re to return.
Key Saints defender set to miss again
Reliable defender Jimmy Webster will miss another week with groin soreness.
In better news for St Kilda, Blake Acres will almost certainly return after another dominant display in the VFL, while youngster Ben Paton should also come into consideration.
Expect a few changes after last week’s mauling at the hands of Richmond.
Minimal changes expected for the Suns
Brayden Crossley will come out of the side that beat Sydney after suffering a cheekbone injury, opening up a spot for David Swallow who was managed last week.
Veteran Michael Barlow has put his hand up for selection after an incredible 50 disposals and seven tackles in the NEAFL.
Brayden Fiorini, Jacob Dawson and Matt Rosa will also be considered for selection.
Veteran duo set to return for the Blues
Carlton look set to welcome back the services of two veterans in Matthew Kreuzer and Dale Thomas.
Kreuzer was ruled out last week with an increased heart rate while Thomas missed with bone bruising on the knee. Both will face fitness tests but look likely to play.
Cam O’Shea or Sam Rowe could also be given an opportunity to play after solid displays in the VFL while Angus Schumacher is a chance to debut.
Crows welcome back skipper from suspension
Skipper Taylor Walker will be inserted straight back in to the line-up after missing last week through suspension.
Rookie defender Tom Doedee is in doubt with a concussion and could make way for the versatile Andy Otten.
Brodie Smith is in the mix as he continues his comeback from a torn ACL while Rory Sloane and Lachlan Murphy should play but will need to pass fitness tests.
Tough-nut Harmes a chance to play after surgery this week
James Harmes is a chance to be selected this week, should he pass the required fitness tests after having surgery on his hand earlier this week.
Speedster Jayden Hunt is recovering from an ankle injury but looks to be available for selection this week after getting through training.
Mitch Hannan is also close and will face a test on his knee.
Forward Cam Pedersen has been pushing for selection in recent weeks and could be named for this week’s clash against the Crows while the likes of Dean Kent, Tim Smith and Sam Weideman are also in the mix.
Clayton Oliver left training early on Wednesday with a sore quad but will play while Jesse Hogan has been sick but is expected to get up after he was quarantined away from the group.
Concussion still keeping out key Roos midfielder
Ben Jacobs looks set to miss his third consecutive game due to concussion symptoms and will be sidelined indefinitely.
The gun tagger has battled concussion in recent weeks and may even miss the rest of the season.
North however will see the return of forward Mason Wood this week from a hamstring injury, so long as he gets through their final training session.
The Roos will also field another debutant in 2018, with Will Walker named for the first time since being drafted 23rd overall in 2017.
Also in the mix are defenders Ben McKay and Tom Murphy as well as emerging forward Nick Larkey.
Veteran Jarrad Waite looks to be one or two weeks away from his return.
High-flying Eagles to go unchanged
West Coast seem unlikely to make any changes to the side that comfortably beat the Bulldogs.
Key defender Tom Barrass could return to take on Coleman Medal favourite Ben Brown while Jake Waterman and Brayden Ainsworth are both in the mix.
The Bont set to return
Marcus Bontempelli looks set to make his much anticipated return from appendicitis after missing the past two games.
Luke Dahlhaus has been ruled out for the rest of the season while Mitch Honeychurch will miss at least a week.
Their absence looks to open up an opportunity for second year forward Fergus Greene to make his debut.
Key Power defender bolts into selection mix
After a poor performance against the Giants last week, there are a number of players in the mix for selection this week.
Port are hopeful on star ruckman Paddy Ryder, who has a hip flexor issue, but his likely absence will increase youngster Billy Frampton’s chances of playing.
Youngster Kane Farrell will also be named in the squad and is a chance to be selected after a three-goal haul in the reserves.
Defender Tom Jonas is also close to a remarkable return from a knee injury after also being named. Jonas was expected to miss up to a month but has recovered well and is in the mix.
Big inclusions expected as ruck duo put their hand up
Fremantle could see the return of their two big men in Aaron Sandilands and Sean Darcy with both ruckman required to get through training this week.
Sandilands has missed the last four weeks with a calf injury while Darcy was a late out against the Bombers last week.
Both are very close and will have every chance to be selected this week.
The Dockers also look likely to see the return of a number of other key players with the likes of rookie Andrew Brayshaw, Stephen Hill and Hayden Ballantyne likely to return.
Harley Bennell impressed for Peel over the weekend and his long awaited return is on the cards…again.
Versatile veteran set to make his return
Midfielder Jaeger O’Meara looks a very strong chance to return after missing last week’s game against Carlton with a hip injury.
Veteran Shaun Burgoyne is also likely to return after a month on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
Taylor Duryea and Conor Glass are in the mix as well but other than replacing the suspended Daniel Howe, it’s hard to see too many changes after a comprehensive win over Carlton.