CO-captain Jack Viney says he’d love to see the ANZAC Day Eve match locked away as a permanent fixture.
Although this will be the third one in a row, since 2015, Viney said he would love to see it played long term.
“I feel like it’s been a big success over the last few years, building a rivalry against Richmond,” he said at a joint media conference with Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin at the MCG on Thursday.
“There has been some good games and a special night, so I feel like it’s been going really well and hopefully it builds for next Monday.”
Viney said key forward Jesse Hogan was set to return from a two-match suspension.
“I’m looking forward to getting him back in the team – he’s a big part of it,” he said.
“He’s just got to come in and perform the way he was performing before.”
“He’s probably building trust more on the off-field side of things – we’ve got no issues with how he’s performs on the field. He’s a real soldier for us and we’re really looking forward to him getting back out there again”
Viney said the loss of Hogan, Jordan Lewis (for three matches from rounds three to five) and Bernie Vince (for round two) due to suspension had hurt the side.
“As a football club, all three of those players play unsociable football – right on the edge,” he said.
“But their decisions weren’t team first actions and they hurt the football club, so we certainly don’t condone the actions of what they did, but we still want to see them play on the edge and bring a certain level of physicality to the game.
“They were more silly errors, which don’t really relate to how you play your football. They were actions of frustrations.”
Defender Michael Hibberd is also likely to come into the side and play his first match for Melbourne after an Achilles injury interrupted his early part of the season.
“The club’s pretty keen to get Hibbo playing,” Viney said.
“He’s had a bit of issue with his body and how it’s been holding up.
“But he played well on the weekend from all reports and his body has pulled up well, so hopefully he gets a gig.”
The reigning best and fairest winner was also rapt with the efforts of ruckman Jake Spencer last round, after he stepped up to replace the injured Max Gawn.
“I think he’s been terrific all summer – even through the JLT [Community] Series. He was really impressive, but we had big Maxy and we just didn’t want to play two rucks for the start of the season,” he said.
“But he got his opportunity on the weekend and performed like he had been all pre-season.
“He was massive for us and he brings his own skills. He’s different to Maxy and he’s a competitive beast – he runs, chases and tackles. He did all of those things really well and we’re looking forward to him bringing them for however long he’s in the team.”