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Melbourne Football Club

Melbourne makes just one change

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 11: Christian Salem of the Demons in action during the Melbourne Demons training session at Gosch's Paddock in Melbourne on May 11, 2016. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 11: Christian Salem of the Demons in action during the Melbourne Demons training session at Gosch's Paddock in Melbourne on May 11, 2016. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Salo was in the team and went out last weekend with a bit of concussion, so he’s right to play
Paul Roos on Christian Salem

MELBOURNE has made just one change for Sunday’s clash against the Western Bulldogs at the MCG, with playmaker Christian Salem replacing the injured Dean Kent (back).

The final 22 was confirmed on Friday afternoon, with Salem, 2014 No.2 draft pick Christian Petracca, speedster Billy Stretch and utility Viv Michie named on the interchange.

Defender Oscar McDonald, hard-nut Alex Neal-Bullen and former co-captain Jack Grimes have been named emergencies.

Coach Paul Roos said Salem was ready to play after missing last round’s 73-point win over the Gold Coast Suns at Metricon Stadium.  

“Salo was in the team and went out last weekend with a bit of concussion, so he’s right to play,” he told Melbourne TV

Neal-Bullen and Grimes, who have yet to play an AFL match in 2016, have been right on the cusp of selection all season.

This will be the sixth consecutive match Neal-Bullen has been named an emergency.

For Grimes, it will be the fifth time this season he has been an emergency.  

O.McDonald has made one appearance this season, during Melbourne’s round one win over Greater Western Sydney at the MCG.

He has since missed two matches with an ankle injury and concussion, and played the rest of the season for Casey in the VFL.

Roos said it was hard to make changes when the side was playing well.

“It’s hard to spit anyone else out – the seconds have been playing well. Our role now is to just to reinforce to the seconds’ guys that if you’re not getting a game – keep playing the way you’ve been playing,” he said.

“As we saw with Viv Michie in particular last week, he played some good footy, [along with] Billy Stretch.

“That’s the challenge for the guys in the seconds – to keep playing the way they’re playing, so when they get a chance, they’re ready to go.”

Bernie Vince will play his 50th match for Melbourne against the Bulldogs – his 179th overall after he played 129 games with Adelaide from 2006-13.

Melbourne team: round eight

B: Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Tomas Bugg

HB: Josh Wagner, Colin Garland, Jayden Hunt

C: Bernie Vince, Dom Tyson, Clayton Oliver

HF: Jack Watts, Cameron Pedersen, Jeff Garlett

F: James Harmes, Jesse Hogan, Ben Kennedy

Foll: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney

I/C (from): Christian Salem, Christian Petracca, Billy Stretch, Viv Michie

Emg: Oscar McDonald, Alex Neal-Bullen, Jack Grimes

In: Salem

Out: Dean Kent (back)