WITH MELBOURNE forward Jesse Hogan available to return from suspension, you'd be forgiven for expecting co-captain Nathan Jones to declare his teammate a certainty to face Richmond – but he says Hogan has to "earn his right" to selection.
Off the back of the Demons' two-point loss to Fremantle Jones fronted news crews at Melbourne headquarters on Tuesday, and put the question about Hogan's selection squarely on the agenda.
While saying he would personally pick Hogan, Jones conceded there was much more to it.
"There's probably no doubt in my mind, but I feel like we're sitting at two and two at the moment there's guys that are playing their role," Jones said.
"Jesse lost his opportunity, so there's a few things that he has to tick off this week, but obviously he's in our best 22 side.
"Whether or not he's chosen this week, I can't give you a direct answer, I'm not the one making that decision, but I feel like he's been out of the team and he has to earn his right to get back in the team.
"If it was me I'd be playing him, but there's a few boxes he'd have to tick this week with the coaching staff and getting through training and putting himself up there to take someone's place who's already been playing and performing for us."
Hogan has hit the headlines in recent weeks, first for his off-the-ball strike on Blue Sam Rowe which cost him two weeks, and then for being photographed smoking at a music festival in WA when he had been granted leave from the club for family reasons.
Jones said the 22-year-old was "disappointed" and "embarrassed" but had the full support of his teammates while dealing with his father's illness.
Melbourne plays the Tigers on Monday night in what has become a traditional Anzac Eve encounter under lights at the MCG.
The team will be without former Hawk Jordan Lewis, who still has another week to serve on his suspension.
The Demons first- and second-year players toured the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne on Tuesday morning.