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Melbourne Football Club

Melbourne makes four changes

James Harmes in action during the Melbourne Demons training session at Gosch's Paddock, Melbourne on June 17, 2015. (Photo: Matthew Goodrope/AFL Media)
James Harmes in action during the Melbourne Demons training session at Gosch's Paddock, Melbourne on June 17, 2015. (Photo: Matthew Goodrope/AFL Media)

MELBOURNE has made four changes for its Saturday afternoon clash against Essendon at the MCG.

The Demons have regained dasher Heritier Lumumba (toe) and midfielder Aaron vandenBerg (hamstring) from injury, promoted small forward Jay Kennedy-Harris after he recently resumed via the VFL and elevated rookie James Harmes for his first AFL match.

Utility Rohan Bail, big man Jake Spencer, young Demon Jimmy Toumpas and ball-winner Matt Jones have been omitted.

Bail, ruckman Mark Jamar and versatile tall Jack Fitzpatrick have been named emergencies.

Manager of football operations Josh Mahoney said Lumumba and vandenBerg were ready to go.

“Both Lumumba and vandenBerg are returning from injury,” he melbournefc.com.au

“’H’ has only missed one week last week with a toe injury and is available to come straight into the side and Aaron has missed the past four weeks.

“Aaron has done a power of work in rehab and has given us the confidence to bring him straight back into the side for Saturday.

“Both of those guys will give us some big bodies around the contest this week.”

Mahoney said Harmes, who was selected at No.2 in the NAB AFL Rookie Draft, held in November 2013, had worked hard for his call-up.

“James has earned his debut for Saturday,” he said.

“He’s continued to improve this year, while playing at Casey and he deserves his opportunity.

“He’ll play through the midfield and forward.

Harmes will be Melbourne’s sixth debutant this season, along with Angus Brayshaw, Jesse Hogan, vandenBerg, Billy Stretch and Alex Neal-Bullen.

The Demons have also had four players with previous AFL experience make their debut for the club: Sam Frost, Jeff Garlett, Heritier Lumumba and Ben Newton.

Kennedy-Harris will play his first match for Melbourne since round six, after a groin injury sidelined him from rounds seven to 10.

“He also comes back into the team after missing an extended period of time with injury,” Mahoney said.

“Jay has played two games now since his injury – one at Development League level and one in the VFL – and he was a carryover player for us in Darwin last weekend.

“He comes in the side and we look forward to him using his speed on the weekend.”

Meanwhile, former co-captain Jack Grimes will return via Casey this round, after missing the past two matches with a thumb injury.

Melbourne team: round 15

B: Colin Garland, Lynden Dunn, Neville Jetta

HB: Jeremy Howe, Tom McDonald, Billy Stretch

C: Daniel Cross, Bernie Vince, Heritier Lumumba

HF: Alex Neal-Bullen, Chris Dawes, Jeff Garlett

F: Angus Brayshaw, Jesse Hogan, Jack Watts

Foll: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney

I/C: Jay Kennedy-Harris, James Harmes, Aaron vandenBerg, Dom Tyson

EMG: Rohan Bail, Mark Jamar, Jack Fitzpatrick

IN: Heritier Lumumba, Jay Kennedy-Harris, James Harmes, Aaron vandenBerg

OUT: Rohan Bail, Jake Spencer, Jimmy Toumpas, Matt Jones

NEW: James Harmes