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Media Conference: Nathan Jones

3:55pm  Aug 21, 2017

Rd 22: All The Goals

12:02pm  Aug 21, 2017

Rd 22: Jesse Hogan post-match

5:23pm  Aug 20, 2017

Hibberd, Hogan to play

AAP  April 21, 2017 10:38 AM

 

MELBOURNE have confirmed Jesse Hogan and Michael Hibberd will come into their side for Monday night's clash with Richmond at the MCG.

Former Essendon defender Hibberd will play his first game in Demons colours after overcoming an Achilles injury, while Hogan returns from a two-game suspension for striking.

Versatile defender Hibberd was one of 34 past and present Bombers banned last season over the club's 2012 supplements saga.

Rookie forward Sam Weideman appears likely to make way for Hogan after struggling with a corked thigh last week.

Coach Simon Goodwin says the final line-up was yet to be decided ahead of Saturday afternoon's team announcement.

"(Weideman) had a corkie, so we'll give him the next couple of days to see how he comes up," Goodwin said on Friday.

"He's a young player that's played six games and he had to endure a fair bit last week with his corkie.

"He got that really early in the game so we'll see how he comes up later in the week."

With the unbeaten Tigers in red-hot form and Melbourne coming off disappointing losses to Geelong and Fremantle, 22-year-old Hogan's return couldn't have come at a better time.

The Demons have performed well in a number of key areas – they rank roughly on par with Richmond for average clearances, contested possessions, tackles and inside-50s – but have struggled to put together winning scores.

Hogan's strong contested marking and poise beyond his years has made him one of the competition's most dangerous young forwards, and Goodwin says he has been sorely missed.

"He's a smart forward line player. He's got genuine presence in our forward 50 and he helps it function," Goodwin said.

"We've had 30 scoring shots in the last two weeks but we probably haven't been as efficient as we would have liked.

"Just adding some experience into the team, and adding some composure, will help that."

The third-placed Tigers are bound to provide plenty of forward-line headaches themselves.

Small forwards Dan Butler, Daniel Rioli and Jason Castagna have already combined for 20 goals this season, breathing life into a team which has performed below its potential in recent years.

"They're playing some really strong footy," Goodwin said.

"Their pressure inside their forward 50 is elite. I think it's the best in the competition.

"Those guys are providing some real structural benefit to Richmond and it's something as a club, and as a coaching staff, we're looking at closely."