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In the mix: Round 8

Smith: "Pretty stoked to get one more year" Clay Smith spoke to the press about his recent contract renewal - securing himself a spot at The Kennel for another year.

Mitch Wallis and Tory Dickson loom as replacements for Jake Stringer (knee) and Josh Dunkley (shoulder) for Friday night's clash with West Coast at Domain Stadium. Wallis has collected 34 and 31 touches in his two VFL games since returning from a badly broken leg. Dickson's solid state league form has seen him slot six goals in the past fortnight since resuming from an abdominal injury. Shane Biggs (27 possessions), Bailey Dale (25 and three goals) and Lukas Webb (21 and a goal) continued to build strong cases for senior recalls. Despite a match-winning bag of six goals in his return from an ACL tear, key forward Jack Redpath is likely to spend another fortnight in the VFL before being considered for senior selection. Ruckman Tom Campbell is unlikely to get a call-up, despite the depleted Eagles' ruck division, with Tom Boyd impressing with the unconventional assistance of Ling Jong and other midfielders in recent weeks. - Ryan Davidson

Winger Wayne Milera is set to return to the Crows' side for Saturday night's game with Melbourne at Adelaide Oval. The second-year player was rested for last weekend's 59-point loss to North Melbourne in Hobart. Forward Tom Lynch will have concussion tests during the week after copping a heavy knock against the Kangaroos. Harrison Wigg continues to press his claims for a senior debut after a team-high 28 possessions in Adelaide's 45-point loss to Woodville-West Torrens in the SANFL. Rookie-listed midfielder Hugh Greenwood also impressed with 23 disposals, eight tackles and a goal, veteran on-baller Scott Thompson had 19 disposals and 11 tackles and forward Troy Menzel was handy with 18 disposals, six marks and two goals. - Lee Gaskin

After a couple of disappointing weeks, the Lions travel to Tasmania to take on coach Chris Fagan's former club Hawthorn. Depending on the severity of Mitch Robinson's foot injury, Cedric Cox or Rohan Bewick could come in to replace him after strong showings in the NEAFL. Liam Dawson also impressed at the lower level and would be in the frame if Fagan wanted to make some changes after the heavy loss to the Swans. - Michael Whiting

Classy midfielder David Cuningham pushed his case for his first senior game this season with an excellent display for the Northern Blues against Collingwood in the VFL last Sunday. In a scintillating performance Cuningham, who played three AFL games at the end of last season, finished with the impressive statistics of 24 disposals, six clearances and five inside 50s. He also booted a long goal after winning a centre clearance. Liam Jones (15 disposals, six marks) continued to impress as a defender with an occasional run in the ruck. In his first VFL game Harrison Macreadie, who played in Carlton's first five games this season before being 'managed' for round six, made a strong return. Blaine Boekhorst (23) and Rhys Palmer (22, one goal) worked hard. - Howard Kotton

The Magpies will welcome back the rested Daniel Wells into a line-up that lacked energy and class in its upset loss to Carlton, and he will be especially needed for the tough road trip against Greater Western Sydney if fellow midfield star Adam Treloar is unable to prove his fitness. The Pies will also regain defender Henry Schade, whose availability could pose a selection dilemma and lead to further calls for Ben Reid to be sent forward to help a struggling attack. Also in the mix from the Pies' VFL side are promising younger players in defender Matthew Scharenberg, forward Ben Crocker and midfielder James Aish, along with experienced trio Jarryd Blair (the Pies' best in the VFL last week), Jesse White and Chris Mayne. - Ben Collins

Expect another week of big changes at Essendon ahead of the Bombers' meeting with Geelong on Saturday night. Jobe Watson and Andy McGrath should be back in the senior side after being rested last week, while Ben McNiece may also be called back to the senior team having also been managed. James Stewart continues to show he will be ready for a call-up to the senior side when ready, after kicking three goals in the Bombers' loss to Port Melbourne in the VFL. Craig Bird had 27 disposals in the midfield for the VFL side, while first-year midfielders Dylan Clarke and Kobe Mutch are also edging closer to AFL debuts with consistent form at the lower level. - Callum Twomey

Jobe Watson got a week's rest after a flat game against Melbourne. Picture: AFL Photos

In his first WAFL appearance in more than two years, Danyle Pearce dominated for Peel in the Thunder's comfortable 23-point win over Claremont. The 31-year-old veteran, who hadn't played at any level since the horror show against Port in round two, amassed 35 disposals with six inside 50s and a goal to remind that he still has something to offer. Nick Suban also impressed in midfield with 26 touches and five inside 50s, while Griffin Logue responded well to being dropped with 17 possessions and five marks in defence. Mature draftee Luke Ryan showcased his tidy skills from 21 touches and is building nicely after ankle and hip issues. Tommy Sheridan was held over as Freo's emergency against Essendon and will be in the mix, although spots might be hard to come by after the Dockers' come-from-behind win. - Travis King

Lachie Henderson is no guarantee to return after he was a late withdrawal against Gold Coast and replaced by Sam Menegola. The backman suffered a knock to the ribs in the warm up and will face a fitness test this week. Joel Selwood will too, after rolling his ankle against the Suns but managing to play out the game. Scott Selwood had 32 disposals and kicked a goal in his third VFL match back from a toe injury, while Jake Kolodjashnij had 16 touches and took four marks in his fourth game after a groin issue. Emergencies Zac Smith and Tom Stewart didn't play in the VFL last week, but Tom Ruggles was in the best after last playing at AFL level in round four; his second strong VFL performance in a row. Brandan Parfitt was put on the long-term injury list last week after suffering a serious hamstring injury. The Cats are yet to announce if they'll elevate a rookie in his place but there isn't an obvious nomination from recent weeks. - Jennifer Phelan

Hard to see too many changes for the historic match against Port Adelaide in China, but one man looming large is Rory Thompson. The key defender has missed four matches with a quad problem, but with a bye to follow the Power match, the Suns might be willing to take him for a match-up with Charlie Dixon if he continues to improve. Young midfielder Brayden Fiorini was impressive in the NEAFL at the weekend and should also come into consideration. - Michael Whiting

For the second week running, Leon Cameron will make at least two forced changes to his 22 after losing Adam Kennedy to an ACL, and Jacob Hopper to a broken finger. The good news is that he can call on a returning star, with midfielder Lachie Whitfield available after serving his eight-game suspension, and he'll be a handy inclusion, while forward Sam Reid (hamstring) is also available after missing last week's loss to the Saints. After being extremely close for a few weeks in a row, Daniel Lloyd and Harry Perryman will again be at the front of the queue to be picked, with Lloyd gathering another 37 possessions and kicking two goals in the Giants' NEAFL loss to Gold Coast on the weekend. Perryman had a quieter game but will still be heavily considered to face Collingwood. Former Fremantle midfielder Matt de Boer put his hand up with 10 tackles and 41 touches if Cameron wants to go with an experienced head, while Jeremy Finlayson had 34 disposals and kicked three goals playing as a tall midfielder, in his second game for the year after serving a suspension from last year's NEAFL Grand Final. - Adam Curley

The Hawks will need to make at least one forced change for the game in Launceston against the Brisbane Lions on Saturday, with the luckless Grant Birchall set to miss for an extended period because of a suspected strained posterior cruciate. It was his first game back after a four-week absence with a fractured jaw. Alastair Clarkson is unlikely to make many more changes to the team that held off the Demons for a gritty win on Sunday, although there is always the distinct possibility that Cyril Rioli will contract another bout of the 'Tasmanian flu' that has seen him miss the last four games at the University of Tasmania Stadium. Hawthorn may look to recall Kaiden Brand to help counter the tall Lions forward line, however a like-for-like inclusion for Birchall might be Taylor Duryea or Brendan Whitecross. We know Jaeger O’Meara won't play for a few weeks as the Hawks embark on a conditioning program to strengthen his troublesome knee, while Jonathan O'Rourke may have encountered further hamstring issues in the VFL last Saturday. - Ashley Browne

The Demons face a tough road trip to Adelaide to face the Crows after one of their most disappointing performances of the season against Hawthorn. Midfielder Jake Melksham would have been a chance for an instant recall after gathering 30 disposals in the VFL. However, he is set to accept a one-match sanction for two separate incidents in the Casey Demons' game against Werribee. The Demons' forward half is in need of a rejig, with Alex Neal-Bullen and Dean Kent both in line to return to the senior side. Neal-Bullen did not play at any level last weekend after being held over as an emergency. Kent's speed and aggressiveness inside forward 50 has been a missing element in Melbourne's forward line. Billy Stretch (25 disposals) was again consistent throughout, while Ben Kennedy (26) and Jack Trengove (22) turned in strong showings. - Ben Guthrie

There are spots up for grabs at Arden St despite North Melbourne's stunning upset of previously unbeaten Adelaide. Jarrad Waite returned with six goals, but goes back out through suspension, after a shoulder injury saw him miss five matches. Taylor Garner (hamstring soreness), a late withdrawal at the weekend, is Waite's logical replacement, but the Roos might also bring ruckman Braydon Preuss into the equation. In a twist, Garner's replacement, Corey Wagner, hurt his ankle and will miss up to two months. In-form defender Aaron Mullett (broken hand) will also try to prove his fitness and 2016 draftee Jy Simpkin (managed) is a likely inclusion. Other potential ins include Andrew Swallow, Mitch Hibberd and Declan Mountford. Swallow (gastro) didn’t play at VFL level last week. Sam Durdin continues to impress, but the Roos' senior side is well served down back. - Marc McGowan

The Power will take a squad of 25 players to China for Sunday's historic game with Gold Coast in Shanghai. The first group of players will leave on Tuesday night before the remainder fly out on Wednesday morning. Forward Brett Eddy has booted 10 goals in his past two games in the SANFL to push his case for a senior recall. Angus Monfries was another stand-out for the Port Adelaide Magpies in their 60-point win against Sturt, kicking three goals. It was Monfries' second game back since 2015 after injuries hampered his pre-season. Jimmy Toumpas (31 disposals, 10 marks), Brendon Ah Chee (25 disposals) and Jesse Palmer (24 disposals) had strong games. Karl Amon (24 disposals) was unlucky to be omitted from the Power side that lost to West Coast by 10 points. Amon, half-forward Aidyn Johnson and key defender Logan Austin were the three emergencies against the Eagles and will be close to getting on the plane to China. - Lee Gaskin 

The Tigers are certain to recall ruckman Toby Nankervis after a one-match suspension, leaving them with a decision to make on talls Ivan Soldo and Todd Elton. Soldo is most likely to make way, despite an impressive debut, with Elton starting to find his feet as a marking forward. It is unlikely the Tigers would play all three. Midfielder Dion Prestia (hamstring soreness) is a chance to return, but the match committee will need to replace Nick Vlastuin (shoulder), who has played a mix of midfield, forward and defence. If the Tigers need another defender, Taylor Hunt is available after being named as an emergency last week. If forward reinforcements are called for, Ben Lennon (three goals and 23 possessions in the VFL) and Sam Lloyd (two and 20), are next in line. Corey Ellis had just six possessions in round seven against the Bulldogs, but the Tigers might give him another chance to make his mark. – Nathan Schmook 

Hard-hitting forward Mav Weller will be desperate to break back into a side coming off an impressive win against Greater Western Sydney last Friday. Weller rolled his ankle a couple of days before that game and spent a short time on the track on Tuesday. Tough nut Luke Dunstan collected 27 disposals and nine tackles and could replace banned midfielder Koby Stevens. Gun forward Paddy McCartin escaped suspension in the VFL and after booting seven goals the week prior, he kicked another two against North Ballarat on Saturday. Fellow tall forward Rowan Marshall was also good in that game with three goals, but he will need to be upgraded off the rookie list before he can debut. Jack Lonie racked up 37 disposals and seven tackles for Sandringham to put his hand up for selection. – Dinny Navaratnam

After their first win of the year the Swans aren't likely to make many changes, but forward Gary Rohan (concussion) and ruckman Kurt Tippett (hip) should be fit to resume against North Melbourne, if they can get through a solid week of training. Defender Aliir Aliir is unlikely to get a look in after he was dropped for missing training on the eve of last week's win over the Lions, and with Lewis Melican and Harry Marsh solid in supporting veteran Heath Grundy, he might be set for another stint in the reserves. Nic Newman responded well to his axing by picking up 30 possessions in the NEAFL win over the Lions, and also kicked a goal, while young forward Jordan Dawson had 23 disposals, five tackles and booted two goals. Young ruckman Darcy Cameron played his best game for the club when he laid seven tackles, to go with 16 possessions and a goal, and is averaging 24 hit outs per game this season. - Adam Curley

Third-year midfielder Liam Duggan failed to overcome a corked thigh in time to take on the Power on Saturday but should be back in contention to face the Western Bulldogs on Friday night. West Coast's ruckmen Nathan Vardy and Jonathan Giles were well beaten by Paddy Ryder, and upgraded rookie Fraser McInnes could be considered by coach Adam Simpson. Malcolm Karpany has been knocking on the door and travelled to Adelaide as an emergency. East Perth had the WAFL bye last weekend, so those outside the Eagles' 22 didn't have the chance to impress. - Travis King