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Melbourne Football Club

Grimes, White in for first match of 2016

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 4: Jack Grimes 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: Jack Grimes 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)
The VFL team keeps putting pressure on the senior team and there is less wriggle room, which is good, because it’s making us a good team and a better team,
Paul Roos

AFTER being named an emergency 11 times this season, former co-captain Jack Grimes will play his first AFL match for 2016, after being named in Melbourne’s 22 for Saturday night’s clash against Fremantle at TIO Stadium.

As announced late on Thursday, defender Mitch White has been promoted from the rookie list to senior list and will also play his first AFL match for the season.

Going out of the side is key forward Chris Dawes and utility Tomas Bugg. Midfielder Viv Michie, second-year player Alex Neal-Bullen and ruckman Jake Spencer have been named emergencies.

Coach Paul Roos said Grimes and White had deserved their opportunities.

“The VFL team keeps putting pressure on the senior team and there is less wriggle room, which is good, because it’s making us a good team and a better team,” he told Melbourne TV

“Grimesy’s been knocking on the door for a while and he played a really good game last week. He had 20-odd possessions and had a couple of goals, and he played the way we want him to play.

“Mitch White’s had a consistent season and had one of his better games last week.”

Roos said Dawes and Bugg were unlucky to miss out.

“Dawesy was disappointed with his game last week and we’re confident, as a number of guys have gone back, that they’re realigned themselves and got back in the team.”

“Buggy’s out and he’s probably going through not something dissimilar to players haven’t been able to consistently break into another team like us.

“Kenno (Ben Kennedy) went through it a couple of weeks ago, so he’s been pretty good this year, Buggy, but it’s just that slight drop off over the last four or five weeks.

“Hopefully, we’ll get him back and playing some good footy, because we’re seen what an important player he is, getting back in the team.”

Roos confirmed Melbourne would take Neal-Bullen and Spencer to Darwin.

“We’re taking Spence up, just with the ruck, because it’s pretty hard to fly [another one up quickly]. We expect Max to play, but we can’t fly one up in half-an-hour, and we’re taking Alex Neal-Bullen up as well,” he said.

For Grimes, it has been a year of persistence. He has starred in the VFL and been agonisingly close to selection all season. He will line-up for his 99th AFL game.

White will make his second appearance for Melbourne, after he made his AFL debut in the final round of the season last year against Greater Western Sydney at Etihad Stadium.

The 20-year-old has been one of Casey’s most consistent performers in recent times.

Michie, who has played three matches this year from rounds seven to nine, will be an emergency for the sixth consecutive match.

Neal-Bullen, who has made two appearances in rounds nine and 10 this season, has been an emergency six times this year, from rounds three to eight.

Spencer, who missed the opening five matches of the season with a foot injury, has been a standout for Casey in recent weeks, and has been named an emergency for the first time this season.


Melbourne squad: round 16

B: Sam Frost, Tom McDonald, Neville Jetta

HB: Jayden Hunt, Oscar McDonald, Matt Jones

C: Christian Petracca, Dom Tyson, Bernie Vince

HF: Jeff Garlett, Jack Watts, Billy Stretch

F: Aaron vandenBerg, Jesse Hogan, Dean Kent

Foll: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney

I/C: Jack Grimes, Ben Kennedy, Mitch White, James Harmes

Emg: Viv Michie, Alex Neal-Bullen, Jake Spencer

In: Grimes, White

Out: Chris Dawes, Tomas Bugg