AFL players in the reserves: Who’s pressing their case for a senior return via VFL, WAFL or SANFL?

Round 13 has another six teams sitting out, with Adelaide, Gold Coast, Western Bulldogs, Geelong, Sydney and West Coast all having byes.

Thursday night football returns, with the Tigers returning from their week off to host Port Adelaide at the MCG.

A Friday night blockbuster between two of the biggest clubs in the land, Essendon and Carlton at the MCG.

Brisbane host St Kilda up at the Gabba whilst the Demons and Pies face off in their traditional Queen’s Birthday Clash.

The Sporting News has all the latest news on AFL players in the reserves.

SEE YOUR TEAM: Adelaide | Brisbane | Carlton | Collingwood | Essendon | Fremantle | Geelong | Gold Coast | GWS | Hawthorn | Melbourne | North Melbourne | Port Adelaide | Richmond | St Kilda | Sydney | West Coast | Western Bulldogs

Fremantle are likely to welcome back Nat Fyfe from his long-term back injury, that has kept him sidelined since round 19 last year.

Fyfe returned through the WAFL and got through the game unscathed, collecting 24 possessions and five marks.

The ground was flocked with supporters and fans of the dual Brownlow Medallist, seeing it was a rare and unusual sighting of the star Docker in the reserves.

Despite beating the Lions at home, Fremantle would want to include their skipper into the line-up, with debate over what position he plays still a topic of conversation.

The Dockers have been super impressive over the last fortnight and will hope to continue that trend with a win over Hawthorn before the bye.

Self-proclaimed barometer Rhys Mathieson has almost forced his way into the senior line-up, with yet another smashing game in the VFL over the weekend.

The Lions mid amassed game-high 48 possessions to go along with his 19 clearances and one goal.

Mathieson, who is yet to play a game in 2022, has been in strong form in the reserves, averaging 33 touches in his nine outings as well as hitting the scoreboard regularly.

After falling short to Fremantle, coach Chris Fagan could look to bring in the 25-year-old for an array of players who were down from their usual selves.

Youngsters Deven Robertston and Jaxon Prior play similar roles to Mathieson and could make way for the upcoming crucial clash against the Saints.

Melbourne might also be forced into some changes, with the club losing their past two matches to finals fancies Fremantle and Sydney.

Rhys Mathieson - Brisbane

Trent Rivers has responded well from his omission from the side, collecting 26 touches and seven marks, playing in the midfield and across halfback.

Rivers, who’s played 10 games in 2022, found himself in the reserves last week but may have been the wrong call given Sydney’s ability to pressure the Demons at senior level.

Jayden Hunt has escaped axing in recent weeks, but after his three disposal showing from 85 per cent game time, this could be the week he sees himself in the VFL.

In what now appears to be a very pivotal clash against the Pies on the traditional Queen’s Birthday match, Rivers would be a steady and calming presence in the backline, which recently has looked worrisome, with Steven May and Tom McDonald out of the side.

North Melbourne are also expected to bring in Jaidyn Stephenson, who has impressed in his VFL outings the last few weeks.

The former Pie gathered 26 touches, six tackles and four clearances in his bid for a senior recall and after the deflating loss to the Suns in the AFL, David Noble may be willing to make that change.

Stephenson’s defensive work rate has been questioned in recent times and will be looking to prove critics wrong if he gets the opportunity at the elite level.

Jaidyn Stephenson - North Melbourne

How AFL players performed in the VFL, SANFL and WAFL


  • Chayce Jones – 20 touches and three clearances
  • Billy Frampton – 26 possessions, five marks and three tackles
  • Josh Worrell – 22 disposals and five tackles
  • Harry Schoenberg – 18 touches, 10 tackles and five clearances
  • Elliot Himmelberg – two goals, 14 disposals and 10 hit-outs
  • Lachlan Sholl – 17 possessions and four clearances
  • Lachlan Gollant – two goals and six touches
  • Kieran Strachan – 48 hit-outs, seven clearances and 17 disposals


  • Mitch Robinson – 32 touches, one goal and eight marks
  • Ely Smith – three goals, 29 possessions and 10 marks
  • Nakia Cockatoo – one goal, 21 disposals and four tackles
  • Thomas Berry – 28 touches, four tackles and two clearances
  • James Madden – 12 possessions
  • Harry Sharp – 23 disposals and four marks
  • James Tunstill – 29 touches and nine marks
  • Blake Coleman – one goal, 13 possessions and six marks
  • Ryan Lester – 18 disposals and six marks
  • Rhys Mathieson – one goal, 49 touches and 19 clearances
  • Carter Michael – 26 disposals and 10 marks



  • Trent Bianco – one goal, 24 touches and five tackles
  • Callum Brown – 22 disposals, three tackles and five clearances
  • Finlay Macrae – 25 possessions, five tackles and four clearances
  • Will Kelly – 18 touches and seven marks
  • Trey Ruscoe – one goal, 15 disposals and two marks
  • Caleb Poulter – 23 possessions and four marks
  • Aiden Begg – 12 hit-outs, 12 touches and nine tackles



  • Nat Fyfe – 24 touches, five marks and four tackles
  • Josh Treacy – three goals, 19 disposals and 14 marks


  • Toby Conway – 21 hit-outs, 11 touches and three tackles
  • Sam Menegola – 17 disposals and five clearances
  • Oliver Dempsey – 17 possessions and four tackles
  • Francis Evans – two goals, 19 touches and five marks
  • Shannon Neale – two goals and seven disposals

Gold Coast 

  • Rory Atkins – 29 touches and four marks
  • Jack Bowes – two goals, 39 disposals and 10 clearances
  • Alex Sexton – one goal, 17 possessions and six marks
  • Brayden Fiorini – 35 touches, eight tackles and six clearances
  • James Tsitas – one goal, 27 disposals and six clearances
  • Sam Flanders – two goals, 32 possessions and seven marks
  • Chris Burgess – seven goals, 13 touches and 10 marks
  • Mac Andrew – 13 disposals and eight marks
  • Darcy Macpherson – one goal, 19 possessions and five marks

GWS Giants


  • James Worpel – 31 touches, five tackles and 13 clearances
  • Denver Grainger-Barras – 11 disposals and two marks
  • Jai Serong – one goal and nine possessions 
  • Finn Maginness – one goal, 35 touches and seven marks


  • Michael Hibberd – 19 touches and eight marks
  • Bailey Laurie – one goal, 15 disposals and six tackles
  • Jake Melksham – 15 possessions and seven marks
  • Trent Rivers – 26 touches and seven marks
  • Sam Weideman – three goals, 12 disposals and 10 marks
  • Luke Dunstan – 24 possessions and nine clearances
  • Oscar Baker – 24 touches and eight marks

North Melbourne

  • Jack Mahony – 15 touches, four tackles and three clearances
  • Jaidyn Stephenson – 26 disposals, six tackles and four clearances
  • Josh Goater – 20 possessions and seven marks
  • Charlie Lazzaro – 26 touches, 10 marks and seven tackles

Port Adelaide


St Kilda


  • Hayden McLean – one goal, 14 touches and six marks
  • Dylan Stephens – 22 disposals and four clearances
  • Ryan Clarke – 33 possessions, 11 marks and 10 tackles
  • Braeden Campbell – 22 touches and four clearances
  • Will Gould – 26 disposals and 10 marks
  • Callum Sinclair – 28 hit-outs, 22 possessions and six clearances
  • Lewis Taylor – 40 touches, seven marks and four tackles
  • James Bell – one goal, 25 disposals and five tackles

West Coast 

  • Dominic Sheed – 27 touches, five marks and four tackles
  • Jack Petruccelle – 12 disposals and three marks
  • Hugh Dixon – one goal, 12 possessions and six marks
  • Elliot Yeo – 16 touches and five marks

Western Bulldogs

  • Jamarra Ugle-Hagan – seven touches and four tackles
  • Hayden Crozier – 28 disposals and 12 marks
  • Zaine Cordy – 11 possessions and six marks
  • Josh Schache – five goals, 18 touches and nine marks
  • Louis Butler – one goal, 25 disposals and five tackles
  • Luke Cleary – 11 possessions
  • Roarke Smith – 18 touches and four clearances
  • Jason Johannisen – one goal and eight disposals
  • Jordan Sweet – 36 hit-outs and 12 possessions

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