DEFENDER Michael Hibberd will miss the opening round against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium due to an Achilles injury.
General manager of football operations Josh Mahoney told melbournefc.com.au on Friday evening that the recruit would not be risked for Melbourne’s first clash of the home and away season.
“Michael will not be playing for Casey this weekend. While his Achilles injury is improving, we have decided to take a more cautious approach and he will therefore not be playing in round one,” he said.
“We think this is the best way to approach this type of injury, when we consider the entire season and not just round one.
“We didn’t think it was appropriate to push him for round one, when it’s about having him for the whole season.”
Meanwhile, Mahoney confirmed Melbourne had gained approval from the AFL to play 17 players in a VFL practice match this weekend.
“Those players will play for the Casey Demons against Port Melbourne at Casey Fields on Sunday,” he said.