Star recruit no certainty to walk into line-up

Extra weeks in the VFL could be the immediate future for star Melbourne recruit Ben Brown after the Demons’ undefeated start to the season ensured it would be “hard to move ” players involved in four straight wins.

Brown and fellow Melbourne forward Sam Weideman made returns from long injury lay-offs in a VFL practice match last week, Brown playing a half and Weideman three quarters.

They will line up in the VFL again this week for the first round of the home-and-away season, and Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said they wouldn’t walk back into the senior team when available for selection.

Goodwin said he was “open-minded” about how Melbourne could look when the pair of talls become available for selection, which should be for the Round 6 clash against Richmond.

“Ben played a half, Sam played three quarters, both will play a full game this week. Post this week they will both be available for selection. That puts us in a really good position,’ Goodwin said on Thursday.

“When it gets to that point it really comes down to performance. We want to get them in really good form to play AFL footy. How long that takes we are not sure.

“Then it really comes down to what’s best for the team at the time. Luke Jackson and Tom McDonald have played some outstanding footy for us at the moment. They are going to be hard to move out of the team.”

The absence of key defender Steven May for the next two to four weeks, after suffering a fractured eye socket last weekend, could demand another reshuffle.

"Ben Brown looked like he hadn’t missed too much football, to be honest."

A successful return via @CaseyDemonsFC for a couple of key Dees on the weekend. 💪

📝: https://t.co/kSszHQatZz

Harrison Petty could be called up, and Michael Hibberd is also pushing his claims “incredibly strongly”.

But with Adam Tomlinson also showing a capacity to defend, the way Melbourne looks in the coming weeks, with Brown and Weideman available, could be interesting.

“We’re just really open-minded about what our team looks like,” Goodwin said

“I think one of the challenges at the moment, even though we are winning, is we look at our team and how can we get better? That’s in all areas, not just in our forward half.

“We’re open to what that looks like, whether it’s two talls, three talls, Tom McDonald playing on a wing. There are a whole different lot of scenarios that will play out in the next two or three weeks.”

Goodwin said there “wasn’t one moment” he thought star midfielder Clayton Oliver, who re-signed this week, would leave Melbourne despite reports of a meeting with Carlton.

“We have a core group of players who want to play together and do something special together, and Clayton is one of those guys.

“Clayton is a Melbourne person … I know what he wants to create.”

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