AFL team news, whispers, updates for Round 19, 2023

As hype around him grows, Essendon’s top draftee remains unlikely for a Friday night debut.

Plus why a St Kilda young gun could be due for a spell, plus big calls loom at Carlton, Collingwood, Port Adelaide and Fremantle.

Get the latest Round 18 selection news and updates in AFL Team Whispers!

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Dustin Martin escapes suspension | 03:49

ESSENDON key forward Sam Weideman will face selection pressure to keep his spot ahead of Friday night’s game against the Western Bulldogs.

Weideman against Geelong was held goalless for the seventh consecutive game and finished Saturday night’s match on Tom Hawkins at full-back.

With Andrew Phillips available after serving his one-game ban, the Bombers could drop Weideman and pair Phillips with Nick Bryan, who was one of Essendon’s shining lights in the loss to Geelong.

Bombers fans were left excited by top draftee Elijah Tsatas’ eye-catching VFL game, which saw him collect 31 disposals, 11 clearances and six marks. But considering the Bombers’ reserves played on Sunday, it’s unlikely Tsatas would be unleashed for a Friday night debut off a five-day break.

WESTERN BULLDOGS star Bailey Smith is expected to return for his side’s clash against Collingwood on Friday night, but young forward Sam Darcy will miss weeks after a “nasty” bleed in his thigh.

Smith missed the unsuccessful trip to Sydney after struggling with the flu in the previous game against the Magpies and the ensuing days, but the Bulldogs said he was “re-energised” and would prove his fitness at training ahead of a must-win clash against the Bombers.

Darcy could miss up to five weeks due to the corky he suffered in the first quarter against the Swans, and will join concussed teammates James O’Donnell and Lachlan McNeil on the sidelines.

While O’Donnell was subbed out after suffering a concussion against the Swans, McNeil played out the game after a heavy first quarter collision but showed some “subtle” delayed symptoms.

Forward Mitch Hannan will be available for selection if he completes the Bulldogs’ main training session on Wednesday, after a calf issue disrupted his season.

Dusty in strife for off the ball strike? | 00:41

CARLTON will need to make at least two forced changes for its clash against West Coast at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.

Coleman Medallist Harry McKay will miss the rest of the home and away season due to a knee injury, while Jordan Boyd copped a three-game from the tribunal for a dangerous tackle.

With McKay out, Lewis Young could come straight back into the side and allow Michael Voss to spin the magnets with what’s already in the side. Caleb Marchbank would be another player they could consider.

Elsewhere, star midfielder Adam Cerra is also in doubt to face West Coast due to hamstring tightness following last week’s game, while scans have confirmed a low grade calf strain for late withdrawal Matt Owies, who will miss up to a fortnight.

Paddy Dow would be a chance to come into the starting 22, while 2022 draftees Lachie Cowan and Ollie Hollands would also be in the mix.

WEST COAST will be without star defender Jeremy McGovern (concussion) and top-10 pick Reuben Ginbey (hamstring) for Saturday’s match against Carlton.

McGovern had delayed concussion symptoms after passing a test and returning to the field in Sunday’s loss to Richmond after an incident with teammate Liam Duggan.

But the Eagles are confident Oscar Allen will play, despite hurting his shoulder in the loss to Richmond.

With Ginbey out, midfielder Xavier O’Neill looms as a possible inclusion after a strong 32-disposal WAFL outing, while Rhett Bazzo would be an option for McGovern.

Elliot Yeo (hip) is the last senior player scheduled to return from injury this season, but that is unlikely to be on the weekend against the Blues.

Will Roos get priority pick help? | 03:44

NORTH MELBOURNE will have to make several changes for its clash against St Kilda after its 48-point loss to Hawthorn was further soured by injury.

Caretaker coach Brett Ratten confirmed on Fox Footy’s AFL 360 that Cam Zurhaar (syndesmosis) would miss “significant time” and George Wardlaw (hamstring) would miss “multiple weeks”. Callum Coleman-Jones (concussion) would also miss one to two games after suffering another concussion.

But Jackson Archer (hamstring) and Liam Shiels (ankle) had pulled up well from their respective issues and should be OK to face St Kilda.

Veteran ruck Todd Goldstein, who had a monster VFL game against Box Hill last weekend, could get a re-call due to Coleman-Jones’ absence, while Aaron Hall, Hugh Greenwood, Charlie Lazzaro and Will Phillips will also be in the mix for a return.

ST KILDA could regain Jack Higgins from a knee issue for Sunday’s match against North Melbourne.

Whether coach Ross Lyon chooses to make any unforced changes beyond that remains unclear, with the coach fuming at his side’s loss to the Suns.

Lyon conceded the workload had caught up with Anthony Caminiti and Matteas Phillipou, who was subbed out against the Suns. Phillipou has played every game for the Saints this year, while the three games Caminiti missed were only due to suspension.

‘Port would be keen on Grundy’ | 01:13

PORT ADELAIDE could be boosted by the return of four key players for its blockbuster, top-of-the-table clash against Collingwood on Saturday night.

Power coach Ken Hinkley declared Junior Rioli a certain starter against the Magpies, but said the Power would have to assess the fitness of important trio Charlie Dixon, Trent McKenzie and Jason Horne-Francis, who all missed the Round 18 loss to Carlton.

Hinkley confirmed Darcy Byrne-Jones had entered the concussion protocols and would miss the Magpies clash after he hit his head in a tackle laid by Carlton defender Jordan Boyd. That could open the door for sub Ryan Burton to come into the 22.

Meanwhile, star midfielder Zak Butters sat out most of the second half with groin soreness, with the coach hoping the star midfielder would be fit for the blockbuster Saturday night clash.

“He’s a little bit sore in the groin, but that’s all – he was sore just before halftime and we’d lost Darcy with concussion,” Hinkley said.

“Zak was out there for a bit longer in the third, but in the end it was just more about he couldn’t move at his best … Zak’s very, very good, but it’s a very hard game to play if you’ve not got any movement.”

Hinkley said captain Tom Jonas and fellow inclusion Xavier Duursma had performed reasonably well despite the loss.

“I wouldn’t have liked to be down Tom’s end too much, it was coming down there a bit, but without looking back at the tape I think both boys played OK without being outstanding, I would’ve thought,” Hinkley said.

COLLINGWOOD key-position duo Brody Mihocek and Darcy Cameron remain chances to return for Saturday night’s big clash against Port Adelaide.

Mihocek has been sidelined with a hamstring issue over recent weeks, while Cameron didn’t face Fremantle due to back tightness.

The Magpies are keen to have a look at Mihocek and Dan McStay in the same forward line.

Should both Mihocek and Cameron be available, Billy Frampton and Ash Johnson loom as possible unlucky exclusions.

The Pies will also consider bringing Tom Mitchell into its starting 22 to face Port Adelaide.

Swans set to challenge Rampe’s ban | 01:54

FREMANTLE will be boosted by the return of star midfielder Caleb Serong from suspension for Saturday’s clash against Sydney.

Serong will be a welcome inclusion following last weekend’s big loss to Collingwood, which was further soured by seemingly serious injuries to ruckman Sean Darcy (ankle) and defender Brandon Walker (knee).

Darcy finished the day on crutches while Walker had to be stretchered from the field and needed pain relief from the green whistle.

Longmuir said Walker had “done something pretty serious” and that it was “very unlikely” he would play again this year, while the Dockers are still waiting on scan results for Darcy — although it seems he’s unlikely to play. Liam Ready could come in to partner Luke Jackson in the ruck.

In better news, Hayden Young (ankle) and Michael Frederick (quad) are good chances to join Serong in the team this week, with the duo to have fitness tests later in the week.

SYDNEY could have a few defensive holes for its clash against Fremantle, but should regain star on-baller Chad Warner.

The Swans are heading to the AFL Tribunal to challenged the two-match ban handed to veteran Dane Rampe for a bump that left Bulldog Lachie McNeil with delayed concussion. It comes with fellow backman Lewis Melican already ruled out after being subbed out with concussion against the Dogs.

Aaron Francis will be in the mix to return, while Jake Lloyd could also return from concussion.

Why Ken should consider the Suns | 03:14

GIANTS midfielder Finn Callaghan is a chance to return for Sunday’s clash against the Gold Coast Suns.

Callaghan was a late withdrawal against the Crows due to hip soreness, but coach Adam Kingsley post-game was optimistic he’d be fit to take on Gold Coast in Canberra.

All-Australian Nick Haynes will also be available after serving a one-game ban, although that suspension came in a game where he started as the sub.

Kingsley expects Tom Green will be sidelined for another match with the hamstring injury he picked up at training last week.

GOLD COAST is unlikely to make too many changes after its impressive win over St Kilda, although Mabior Chol would be the logical inclusion should the club wish to rest Levi Casboult again.

Rachele ‘can be got at’ | 02:22

ADELAIDE will be without young star Josh Rachele due to suspension, while there’s doubt over triple club champion Rory Laird for Sunday’s big clash against Melbourne.

Laird hurt his AC joint in a contest during the Crows’ tight loss to the Giants on the weekend, but played out the rest of the game.

Coach Matthew Nicks said Laird was “a bit sore” but added the club would “monitor and see how he pulls up” during the week.

Should Laird be unavailable to face the Demons, Jake Soligo could return after a week out of the team, while Sam Berry and Harry Schoenberg loom as possible inclusions.

Schoenberg starred for Adelaide’s SANFL team on the weekend, booting 2.2 from 28 disposals and 11 tackles against Glenelg.

MELBOURNE defender Harrison Petty is in doubt for Sunday’s clash against Adelaide.

Petty’s short-term future seems to be under a cloud after he was subbed out for the second week in a row due to a rib issue.

“Everything was cleared last week, he trained fully but just got another knock tonight,” coach Simon Goodwin said after Melbourne’s comeback win over Brisbane.

“He’s sore, we’ll just need to investigate it further and make sure he’s right.

“We can’t keep subbing him every week.”

Should Petty be unavailable, Michael Hibberd and Adam Tomlinson would be in the mix to return while Joel Smith could be upgraded from the sub to the starting 22.

Dusty cops fine… but no ban? | 00:34

RICHMOND is unlikely to make too many changes, although it’ll be interesting to see if Maurce Rioli Jnr holds his spot in the 22 after being subbed out against the Eagles.

BRISBANE shoud be boosted by the return of star midfielder Josh Dunkley after he trained on Tuesday.

GEELONG should re-call Zach Tuohy to face the Lions, but Esava Ratugolea mightn’t be an automatic inclusion.

Veteran Sam Menegola, too, is pushing his case after accumulating 31 disposals against Essendon’s VFL side on Sunday.

HAWTHORN forward Fergus Greene faces a fitness test ahead of his side’s clash with Richmond this weekend.

Greene was subbed out in the third quarter against North Melbourne after injuring his knee, leaving him in some doubt to face Richmond.

He completed some training on Tuesday, but will need to prove his fitness at the Hawks’ main training session later this week before being declared fit to play.

The Hawks, though, should regain key defender James Blanck, who missed last week’s win over the Kangaroos due to a delayed concussion following the loss to the Giants, while Seamus Mitchell (managed) and Max Ramsden (illness) will also be in the mix.

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