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AFL team news, whispers, updates for Round 16 2022

Hawthorn could be boosted by a key trio for its clash with the Giants, who themselves are hoping to regain a star midfielder for the first time since Round 2.

Plus the Bulldogs will unleash a debutant against the Lions, who’ve promised change.

Get the latest Round 16 selection news and updates in AFL Team Whispers!

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HAWTHORN could be boosted by the return of triple premiership forward Jack Gunston for Sunday’s clash against the Giants.

Gunston, who’s missed the past month of football due to an ankle injury, will face a fitness test later this week, as will young defender Will Day after he cleared the AFL’s health and safety protocols.

Star forward Chad Wingard is also a chance to play following a calf injury.

But ruck Max Lynch is set to miss another week due to concussion.

The GIANTS, too, could welcome back some big names to face the Hawks, with gun midfielder Jacob Hopper in line to play his first game since Round 2.

Hopper has been sidelined for the past few months following back-to-back knee injuries, but will put his hand up for selection this week.

“The body’s feeling good, it’s been a while but that’s just footy sometimes unfortunately,” Hopper said.

“I’m feeling ready, and hopefully I’ll get to have a run around soon and get my hands back on the footy again which will be nice.”

Ruck duo Matt Flynn (quad) and Braydon Preuss (ankle) are also tests to take on the Hawks, but veteran Matt de Boer is available for selection after exiting concussion protocols.

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The BRISBANE LIONS are expected to get a much-needed double boost ahead of their crunch clash against the Western Bulldogs at the Gabba on Thursday night.

Captain Dayne Zorko (hamstring) and Zac Bailey (health and safety protocols) are near certainties to feature in the semi-final rematch, while Jarryd Lyons is expected to line up as well after suffering a heavy hit to his ribs last week against Melbourne which eventually required him to be subbed out.

If Lyons fails to prove his fitness, however, Rhys Mathieson would come under consideration after continuing his strong VFL form last week.

“He’s been playing well Rhys,” Lions coach Chris Fagan told reporters on Wednesday. “I’m not yet sure whether he’ll be playing tomorrow might, but he’s certainly put himself in the frame through some really good performances in the reserves.”

There were 26 players training at the Lions’ captain’s run on Thursday — per AFL Media’s Michael Whiting — including Zorko, Bailey and Mathieson. But from last round’s Lions team, Mitch Robinson, Devon Robertson and Tom Berry were all missing.

“We’ll make some changes, last week’s performance was out of character for us,” Fagan said.

“The challenge for us is to bounce back from that sort of performance.”

The WESTERN BULLDOGS will head into the clash without Tim English again as the ruckman continues to battle to overcome delayed concussion after being tackled heavily by GWS ruckman Braydon Preuss in Round 14.

And he will be joined on the sidelines by improved defender Ed Richards, who too is also suffering from concussion.

Key forward Josh Bruce won’t be available either after suffering a hamstring injury in his comeback from an ACL rupture last year, while Mitch Wallis’ season is over after undergoing foot surgery.

But Bulldogs premiership midfielder Lachie Hunter could return for his first game since taking personal leave after Round 5, while 19-year-old forward Dom Bedendo has been confirmed to make his debut.

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COLLINGWOOD expects Jordan De Goey to be available for Saturday night’s crunch clash against Gold Coast.

De Goey, who was granted personal leave following his mid-season bye trip to Bali, was back at the club on Tuesday night and completed a 45-minute session.

Should De Goey complete Thursday’s main training session, he’ll be available for selection ahead of the trip to Metricon Stadium.

If De Goey plays, Isaac Chugg is seemingly most at risk of coming out of the team after a quiet debut showing against the Giants.

GOLD COAST will be without academy graduate Alex Davies for Saturday’s clash against Collingwood and beyond.

Davies was subbed out of Sunday’s loss to Port Adelaide, with scans revealing an MCL injury that’ll require at least three weeks to rehabilitate.

However the Suns are set to be boosted by the returns of utility Jack Lukosius (knee) and Connor Budarick (hamstring), who are both fitness tests for later in the week.

Just when CARLTON thought its defensive stocks couldn’t take any more hits, youngster Jordan Boyd joined its ever-growing injury list on the weekend when he suffered a fractured foot.

But in some overdue good news for the Blues, Adam Cerra (hamstring) is likely to return against the Saints Friday night, while Matt Owies (calf) and Lachie Fogarty (back) both look set to be available for selection

Jack Martin (calf) and Jacob Weitering (shoulder) are likely both another week away, with the pair more likely to return against West Coast next week – though Voss left the door open for Weitering.

“We’ll have a good look at him today. If he gets through well, then he’ll be available. But it is still unlikely, still more realistic for next week. If it goes really, really well, he will be available,” he said.

Jacob Weitering injured back in Round 11. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

ST KILDA is set to recall key duo Paddy Ryder and Bradley Hill, while it could also regain Mitch Owens (concussion) to face the Blues.

But Dan McKenzie’s return from concussion has been delayed after he injured his calf.

Small forward Jack Higgins was dropped for their match against Sydney last week, but whether he slots straight back into the team this week remains to be seen after booting one goal for Sandringham last weekend in the VFL.

SYDNEY is expected to regain duo Harry Cunningham and Justin McInerney for Saturday’s match against Essendon.

Both players missed the match against St Kilda on the weekend due to AFL Health and Safety Protocols.

The club expects Cunningham and McInerney to return to training this week, with a call on selection to be made Thursday.

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ESSENDON coach Ben Rutten on Friday night was confident Darcy Parish would be available to take on the Swans, but fellow midfielder Andy McGrath would be “touch and go” considering he’d only just re-injured is adductor.

Nick Bryan might come out of the team to make way for fellow ruck Andrew Phillips, who was managed last round.

NORTH MELBOURNE coach David Noble remains unsure whether top-10 pick Tarryn Thomas will play against Geelong this weekend.

Thomas flew to Sydney after Sunday’s loss to Adelaide. He had just three disposals during the match, but Noble revealed post-game there’d been a bereavement in the family.

Asked on Wednesday about Thomas’ availability, Noble said: “We’ll assess where he’s at through the week, but he’s back here to train.

“You have to back your players in. He understands when you walk across that line there’s a level of competition you have to bring.”

GEELONG will have to replace Tom Stewart, who’ll come out of the side through suspension for his hit on Dion Prestia.

Forward Gary Rohan, who was a late out due against Richmond, could come back in.

All indications were that Patrick Dangerfield was set to return from injury against Richmond, but now reports suggest he could miss again against North, given the Cats face Melbourne five days later.

Cooper Stephens, who was the medical sub against Richmond, had 28 disposals in the VFL to put his hand up for a senior re-call.

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RICHMOND will have to replace Dion Prestia for Sunday’s game against West Coast, but his replacement won’t be Trent Cotchin.

The former skipper has been sidelined since Round 14 due to a clavicle injury. The club on Wednesday said Cotchin was set to miss at least another two weeks.

WEST COAST superstar Nic Naitanui is locked in to play his first match since Round 4 against Richmond at the MCG on Sunday.

Naitanui, who’s been sidelined with a medial ligament injury, will return after a WAFL hit-out last weekend.

Speaking to reporters, Naitanui said he’d receive ruck support likely from one of Bailey Williams or Callum Jamieson.

“The process we‘ve been through the last few weeks has put me in good stead to play my normal minutes in the AFL,” he said.

“I’m hoping this weekend I’ll get back to my best. The WAFL was that trial and the training I’ve put forward was to get back to that.

ADELAIDE could turn to Matt Crouch for the clash with Melbourne.

Crouch was dropped for the second time this season, despite his 31-disposal effort in the loss to the Gold Coast and missed last week’s win over North Melbourne.

The midfielder last week revealed he “didn’t see it coming” and spoke of his disappointment.

“There’s nothing I can do apart from go back and play good footy now and put my hand up again,“ Crouch said on Channel 10.

“If I play well, hopefully, there’s still a spot for me.”

Crouch finished with 42 disposals, 10 clearances, seven inside 50s and six tackles in the SANFL, with coach Mick Godden pleased with the 29-year-old’s efforts.

“The most important thing is when a player comes in like that, they do the things that are required by the team and I thought Matt did that all day,” Godden said.

“The statistics are big because he is a great player but it was also what he did off the ball, around the contest to organise players.”

Billy Frampton also pushed his case for a senior recall with the defender taking 14 marks in the SANFL. He finished with 22 touches and six rebound 50s.

Andrew McPherson hasn’t played in the AFL since he injured himself in Round 1, but he too is building in the SANFL and could be an option for Matthew Nicks in defence.

Nicks will have to make a defensive change this week, with Will Hamill sidelined under the AFL’s concussion protocols.

Shane McAdam also faces a fitness test after rolling his ankle in the win over the ‘Roos.

“He’s had a scan which hasn’t shown any major damage, it’s just a decent ankle roll and we’ll give him every chance to get up for the game against the Dees,” High Performance Manager Darren Burgess said.

MELBOURNE won’t welcome back skipper Max Gawn this weekend, but coach Simon Goodwin is confident his star ruckman will be back in Round 17.

“He’s tracking well the big fella,” Goodwin said.

“He’s a hard man to keep down. He’s pushing all the time. He’s back training and doing his rehab to a high level.”

There’s a host of players pushing for a recall in the VFL, including Adam Tomlinson, Jake Melksham and Jayden Hunt.

Mitch Brown was also impressive and, according to Goodwin, comes into contention after six goals in the VFL.

“Outstanding performance, it wasn’t just six (goals), he had 12 shots at goal. He kicked six goals six,” Goodwin said.

“I was rapt for Mitch.

“He played two games in the AFL, probably wasn’t quite to the level Mitch would have liked.

“He definitely keeps himself in calculations for selection. There’s no doubt about that.

“We’ll continue to reward players who are in outstanding form and Mitch is one of those at the moment.”

FREMANTLE are facing a selection squeeze with Michael Walters likely to return this weekend.

Walters missed the loss to Carlton with a calf complaint, but only needs to prove his fitness to get the nod against Port Adelaide.

Josh Treacy is also proving himself fit to come into consideration, but the Dockers are unlikely to take four talls in against the Power, given Sean Darcy, Rory Lobb and Matt Taberner are all healthy.

Dockers footy boss Peter Bell said Heath Chapman remains at least another week away from his return from a hamstring injury.

Darcy Tucker can’t be considered after opting for surgery on the finger he injured in the WAFL last weekend.

Young Neil Erasmus was the pick of the players for the Dockers in the WAFL, with 24 disposals and a goal.

PORT ADELAIDE will need to make at least one change to their winning line up, with Riley Bonner missing the flight west due to facial fractures.

Bonner suffered a fractured cheek and eye socket last weekend and will miss at least three weeks.

But defensive duo Darcy Byrne-Jones and Tom Clurey are available after exiting the AFL’s health and safety protocols.

Zak Butters is also racing the clock to prove his fitness after his knee injury.

Robbie Gray looms large for selection after being rested the past fortnight while Orazio Fantasia is putting his hand up for his first AFL game in 2022.

Fantasia missed the start of the season with injury and has been slowly building his match fitness in the SANFL.

Coach Ken Hinkley admitted Fantasia was “pushing hard” for a call up to the senior side – despite finishing his last match with 0.4.

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