Almost every AFL team is facing the likelihood of having players sidelined for the start of the 2024 season through either injury or suspension.

As many as three clubs will be without players for the start of the new season due to suspension, with Melbourne among those with confirmed outs from the end of last season while also dealing with a range of fresh injury issues.

The Demons, who will open the 2024 season against Sydney in early March, are looking at having the most players potentially out of action through either injury or suspension to start their new campaign.

Carlton has also been hit with pre-season setbacks and suspension, with the Blues among the several sides who have already lost personnel for the entire year ahead.  

Here are the players either set to miss their side's season opener and the others who are in a race to play. 


The Crows won't have key defender Nick Murray until midway through the season following his ACL setback last July. His absence, coupled with the departure of Tom Doedee, will likely give Josh Worrell and James Borlase a run down back alongside first-string tall Jordon Butts. Fringe midfielder Harry Schoenberg is still some way off a return as well, only just returning to running after rupturing his Achilles at the cessation of last season.

Set to miss:
Nick Murray (knee)
Harry Schoenberg (Achilles)


ACL injuries to new recruit Tom Doedee and young midfielder Will Ashcroft will give the Lions a mid-season boost as they both eye returns in a matter of months. The Lions were without depth options Noah Answerth (shoulder), James Madden (shoulder) and Carter Michael (quad) to end 2023, with all three likely in line to start the new campaign at either AFL or VFL level.

Set to miss:
Will Ashcroft (knee)
Tom Doedee (knee) 


Versatile forward Jack Silvagni's ACL blow was the latest off-season injury horror, with the Blues entering another season without a key piece of their system set to get a look at the year ahead. All eyes will be on reigning best and fairest Jacob Weitering, with the key defender suffering a high-grade calf strain that could put a line through the star Blue's plans for Opening Round against Brisbane. Recruit Elijah Hollands will miss the opening two games of the season due to a two-game suspension for conduct unbecoming. Hollands' breach of the AFL's illicit drugs policy will see him first available come Round 3 when the Blues meet North Melbourne on Good Friday.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 26: Jacob Weitering of the Blues runs the ball during the round 11 AFL match between Sydney Swans and Carlton Blues at Sydney Cricket Ground, on May 26, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Set to miss:
Jack Silvagni (knee)
Elijah Hollands (suspension - two games)

In a race:
Jacob Weitering (calf) 


The Magpies will hold onto the hope of key forward Dan McStay returning to the field by the end of the season, but his rehabilitation for an ACL injury sustained in November is likely to see him miss the Magpies' entire premiership defence. The former Lion looms as the only Magpie likely to miss Collingwood's Opening Round outing against GWS in early March, with Brayden Maynard and Jamie Elliott both expected to return from off-season shoulder surgeries ahead of the season.

Set to miss:
Dan McStay (knee) 


Uncapped forward Jaiden Hunter was among the quartet of players across the competition who sustained ACL injuries during the pre-season, with the 2023 Mid-Season Draft recruit set to miss his second season in the red and black after dealing with a back issue last year. Ruckman Sam Draper has re-joined the main group at Tullamarine and is in line to play Round 1 after undergoing groin surgery in the off-season. Midfielder Dylan Shiel (foot) and forward Tex Wanganeen (navicular) are also building their training loads ahead of the new season and should

Set to miss:
Jaiden Hunter (knee) 

In a race:
Dylan Shiel (foot)

Tex Wanganeen (navicular)


The Dockers moved both Josh Corbett (hip) and Sebit Kuek (knee and shoulder) to their inactive list ahead of the Christmas break, with the former's 2024 season over well before it started. Kuek could be a late return this year if his rehabilitation remains on track. Brandon Walker remains hopeful of a Round 1 meeting with Brisbane despite tearing his patella tendon last July, however, the Fremantle defender still needs to tick some boxes before being seen as a strong chance to play.

Brandon Walker during the 2022 AFL Round 19 match between Richmond and Fremantle (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

Set to miss:
Josh Corbett (hip)
Sebit Kuek (knee and shoulder) 

In a race:
Brandon Walker (knee) 


The Cats are fairly healthy heading into the back end of their pre-season, with the likes of Mark Blicavs (hamstring), Jeremy Cameron (shoulder), Brad Close (ankle), Tom Hawkins (hamstring), Gary Rohan (ankle) and Jack Henry (foot) all entering their rehabilitation processes prior to the end of last season. Blicavs' hamstring issue has been present over the course of the pre-season but the veteran utility should be good to go for Round 1 against St Kilda. The Cats will also look to have Cameron Guthrie (toe) and Jhye Clark (navicular) back in the mix after the pair spent most of last year on the sidelines.

Gold Coast

A second knee reconstruction for midfield-defender Lachie Weller is set to see the former Fremantle Docker miss the start of the Suns' new era under Damien Hardwick. The Round 17 setback will hopefully have the 27-year-old back on the field in the latter half of this year.

Set to miss:
Lachie Weller (knee) 


Inaugural Giant Adam Kennedy will miss the start of the season due to an ACL injury sustained in April last year against the Lions. The GWS utility returned to the training track earlier this month after an extended period on the sidelines. The same injury to second-year youngster Darcy Jones is likely to have the midfield-forward hybrid missing the chance of an early debut. Veteran Callan Ward is reported to be dealing with a groin matter that isn't expected to see him miss the Giants' Opening Round clash with reigning premiers Collingwood.

Set to miss:
Adam Kennedy (knee)
Darcy Jones (knee)


The Hawks and their fans will have their fingers crossed that breakout onballer Will Day is ready in time for Round 1. A foot fracture has forced Day into a moon boot, with the reigning Peter Crimmins Medal winner given a two-month turnaround to be set for his side's season opener against Essendon on March 16. The Hawks are likely to be without veteran forward Chad Wingard for most of the year following the 30-year-old's Achilles injury last August.

Set to miss:
Chad Wingard (Achilles) 

In a race:
Will Day (foot) 


A host of Demons players are likely facing time on the sidelines come Melbourne's season-opening draw with Sydney at the SCG on March 7, with question marks over Clayton Oliver and Joel Smith due to separate matters. Oliver is currently away from training and on his own program after requiring leave for personal reasons, while Smith is under a provisional ban for his positive drug sample from late last season. Small forward Kysaiah Pickett will miss the clash with the Swans after accepting a one-game ban for an incident involving Patrick Cripps last September, while an ACL injury to Jake Melksham has the veteran attacker out of action for most of the coming season. Recruit Tom Fullarton is reported to have suffered a serious hamstring injury that will delay his start to life as a Demon, while further knee issues for Ben Brown are likely to put the veteran sharpshooter out of action for the start of the season.

Clayton Oliver during Melbourne's open training session at Gosch's Paddock, Melbourne in 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes/Zero Digital Sports)

Set to miss:
Kysaiah Pickett (suspension - one game)
Jake Melksham (knee)
Tom Fullarton (hamstring)

In a race:
Ben Brown (knee) 

Joel Smith (suspension - provisional)
Clayton Oliver (personal) 

North Melbourne

The Roos' backline is set to enter the new season undermanned after the exit of Ben McKay and with Griffin Logue sidelined for the first half of the season with an ACL injury. Their absence will see Charlie Comben get a run as a tall defender, with Aidan Corr also set to be fit in time for Round 1 following a pre-season ankle issue. A host of Kangaroos players are listed to be up to five weeks out from a return to full pace, with Jackson Archer (groin), Luke McDonald (hamstring) and Eddie Ford (ankle) all said to be some time away in the club's most recent injury update. McDonald has looked in good touch at training in recent weeks, however Ford and Archer have required extra attention and are on limited duties. Ruckman Tristan Xerri should be fit in time for his side's season opener against GWS despite requiring surgery on his cheekbone. Recruit Zac Fisher has started his rehabilitation from a minor hamstring injury and should be in the mix for Round 1.

Set to miss:
Griffin Logue (knee) 

In a race:
Eddie Ford (ankle)

Jackson Archer (groin)

Port Adelaide

Young Power forward Mitch Georgiades is eyeing an early return from an ACL injury sustained in the SANFL last April, with a Round 1 meeting with West Coast a hopeful date for the fringe forward. With Port Adelaide's already strong forward stocks, it's unlikely they'll look to rush the 22-year-old back.

In a race:
Mitch Georgiades (knee) 


Key forward Tom Lynch is a major talking point as we near the new season, with the Tigers spearhead in a race against the clock to be fit in time for his side's trip to Carrara to face the Suns in early March. A foot injury has hampered the former Gold Coast forward since Round 4 last year, with his training loads slowly building early into 2024. One name Richmond will be without to start their first campaign under new coach Adem Yze is fringe midfielder Tyler Sonsie, who still needs to serve two games for a striking ban he picked up in the VFL late last year.

Ben Miller and Tom Lynch during the round 22 AFL match between Richmond and Hawthorn on August 14, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Richmond Media)

Set to miss:
Tyler Sonsie (suspension - two games) 

In a race:
Tom Lynch (foot) 

St Kilda

Ross Lyon's first season back at Moorabbin was significantly impacted by injuries, many of which came prior to Round 1 last year. The good news for the Saints is that key forward Max King is in line for Round 1 following shoulder surgery. The likes of Jack Hayes and Zak Jones will also be looking to start the new season without further ailments of their own, while there's been positive news in Tim Membrey's return to the club after the sharpshooting Saint stepped away from his duties at the end of last season.


A 'Mad Monday' incident saw Swans co-captain Callum Mills significantly damaged his left shoulder, with the setback potentially forcing the defensive-minded midfielder to miss half of the coming season. The 2022 Bob Skilton Medal winner will be a nice addition for the Swans midway through the year as they make another expected tilt for a flag.

Set to miss:
Callum Mills (shoulder) 

GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JULY 04: Callum Mills of the Swans kicks the ball during the round 16 AFL match between Sydney Swans and West Coast Eagles at GMHBA Stadium on July 04, 2021 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

West Coast

Small forward Liam Ryan's injury run has continued into 2024, with the premiership Eagle set to miss the opening of West Coast's new campaign due to another hamstring issue. Surgery on a recent high-grade hamstring strain and tendon damage is likely to see the Eagles without their agile attacker for up to the first month of the home and away campaign. Midfielder Dom Sheed is also questionable for Round 1 after suffering a foot injury in December, while draftee Archer Reid is dealing with a knee issue of his own. The Eagles will also start the season without Jai Culley following the former Mid-Season Draft Pick 1 selection's ACL setback last May.

Set to miss:
Liam Ryan (hamstring)
Jai Culley (knee) 

In a race:
Dom Sheed (foot)

Western Bulldogs

The Dogs were dealt a cruel blow last month with star midfielder Bailey Smith suffering a season-ending ACL injury. His absence is set to open up midfield minutes for a number of fringe Bulldogs as Luke Beveridge looks to steer his side back to the top. All-Australian ruckman Tim English has been forced to train away from the main group for most of the pre-season due to a migraine matter, however, the club is confident in his Round 1 prospects.

Set to miss:
Bailey Smith (knee)