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Melbourne Football Club

Round one team selection

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 4: Clayton Oliver poses for a photograph during the Melbourne Demons official team photo day at the MCG in Melbourne on February 4, 2016. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 4: Clayton Oliver poses for a photograph during the Melbourne Demons official team photo day at the MCG in Melbourne on February 4, 2016. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

THREE players will make their Melbourne debuts in Saturday’s round one game against GWS Giants at the MCG.

Clayton Oliver is set to play his first game of AFL football while recruits Tomas Bugg and Ben Kennedy will line up in red and blue for the first time.

Coach Paul Roos said it was exciting to have close to a full list available for selection in round one.

“It’s always a long pre-season, [especially] the last month where you’re playing games, trying to get guys fit and getting them back into training [if they’re injured],” he said on Roos’ Views.

“Trying to manage everything in the last month’s quite difficult and you’re praying to the footy gods you don’t get injuries.

“I think every team’s ready to play and you’re hoping to put a fit team out on the field, in some reasonable form, which we’re able to do for the weekend’s game.”

Roos said Oliver’s selection was a testament to the way he approached his football.

 “He’s forced his way in with his actions and the way he attacks the footy – how clean he is [and] how hard he is,” Roos said.

“The way we want to play our football is the way ‘Clarry’ plays his footy naturally.”

Melbourne elected not to risk second year player Angus Brayshaw, whose pre-season was restricted by a knee injury, while veterans Heritier Lumumba and Lynden Dunn were also left out.

“Generally in round one, you need a really fit team and sometimes you can fall into the trap of playing guys who are a little bit underdone because of their talent level,” Roos said.

“Dunny’s probably a little bit similar [to Brayshaw and Lumumba] – he hadn’t played a lot over the last couple of weeks as well.

“So they’re three that from a fitness point of view, we were able to leave out, based on the form of some of our current players.”

Round one will mark a milestone for midfielder Jack Viney, who is set to play his 50th game for the club on Saturday.

The Demons last played the Giants in round 23, 2015, when they won at Etihad Stadium by 26 points.

Melbourne Team: Round One

B: Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Colin Garland
HB: Matt Jones, Oscar McDonald, Christian Salem
C: Bernie Vince, Jack Viney, Aaron vandenBerg
HF: Jack Watts, Sam Frost, James Harmes
F: Dean Kent, Jesse Hogan, Jeff Garlett
FOLL: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson
I/C: Tomas Bugg, Clayton Oliver, Cameron Pedersen, Ben Kennedy

Emg: Lynden Dunn, Billy Stretch, Jack Grimes

AFL debut: Clayton Oliver
Melbourne debut: Tomas Bugg, Ben Kennedy

Milestone: Jack Viney – 50 games