West Coast star Nic Naitanui is set for a stunning elimination final recall as Essendon await updates on the stability of Michael Hurley's shoulder.
Naitanui and Hurley are among several top players who either have question marks over their fitness or are poised to return in week one of the finals.
The pre-finals bye weekend has been a major boost for Hurley and Collingwood key defender Darcy Moore after their round-23 setbacks.
Hurley partially dislocated his right shoulder in the Friday night loss to the Magpies, while Moore reported hamstring tightness.
Moore had returned that night from a month out with an injury to the same left hamstring, but the Magpies are confident there is no fresh damage.
Coach Nathan Buckley is optimistic Moore will play in Friday night's qualifying final against Geelong.
But the Bombers are unlikely to know for another couple of days whether Hurley will be right for the Optus Stadium clash.
Naitanui has played only three games this season and been out of action since Round 17 because of an ankle injury, but a solid training hit-out late last week has the Eagles bullish that he will be ready for Essendon.
The Magpies are likely to regain stars Jordan De Goey (hamstring), Steele Sidebottom (testicle surgery) and Jaidyn Stephenson (suspension) for Friday night, while Cats forward Tom Atkins should come back from a hand injury.
GWS will have a much stronger side for Saturday's elimination final than the combination who had surrendered meekly to the Western Bulldogs in Round 22.
Jacob Hopper (hamstring), Toby Greene (calf) and Nick Haynes (throat) are set to return as the Bulldogs bring back Tory Dickson (hamstring).
Richmond must decide whether to recall ruckman Toby Nankervis (adductor) for the Saturday night qualifying final against Brisbane at The Gabba.
Nankervis dominated in Saturday's return through the VFL and kicked the winning goal in the final against Essendon.
Tigers onballer Dion Prestia is also a concern with Achilles soreness, while the Lions should regain Allen Christensen (hamstring).