Hawthorn and Sydney must solve important selection issues as they try to rebound from their AFL qualifying final losses.
Last year’s grand finalists will confront less battle-scarred opposition when the Hawks play Adelaide and the Swans host North Melbourne in the semis.
Hawthorn have to find a replacement for forward Jack Gunston, who injured his ankle in last Friday night’s loss to West Coast.
Sydney’s injury woes worsened when key forward Sam Reid suffered a hamstring injury against Fremantle, ending his season.
The teams will be named on Thursday night.
Swans coach John Longmire added this week that Lance Franklin’s health problems meant he also would not play again this year.
In better news for Sydney, Nick Smith is set to return and co-captain Kieren Jack might also be a surprise recall for Saturday night’s match at ANZ Stadium.
North emerged from last Sunday’s elimination final win over Richmond with no major injury problems.
Jamie Macmillan rolled an ankle, but he is expected to play.
And the Kangaroos remain hopeful that Daniel Wells will return to the AFL during the finals, despite only managing two senior games this season.
Adelaide defender Brodie Smith missed training on Wednesday as he continues to manage an ankle injury, but the Crows are also confident he will play in Friday night’s semi-final against the Hawks at the MCG.
Meanwhile, one of the architects of Hawthorn’s current golden era admits to concerns about what they can achieve this season.
Hawks goalkicking great Jason Dunstall made an invaluable contribution to the club off the field as well, serving as the football director on the board until the end of the 2013 season.
Dunstall on Wednesday noted that Hawthorn, like Geelong’s era of three premierships between 2007-11, had enjoyed a long spell of supremacy.
“They’ve been there a while, three grand finals in a row, they’ve won a couple,” Dunstall told Fox Sports.
“It’s hard to be there every season.
“People call it hunger – there are a lot of little things that need to go right to have the success.
“They’re thereabouts. Whether they can find their best on the weekend and maybe in a couple of weeks to come, remains to be seen.”