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Melbourne Football Club

Four changes made in final 22

MELBOURNE has finalised its 22 for this round's clash against Carlton at the MCG.

On Thursday, the Demons welcomed back goalkickers Jesse Hogan and Jeff Garlett into the starting 18. And on Friday, it was confirmed that forward Dean Kent and rookie Joel Smith were also both back in the side.  

Former co-captain Jack Trengove, speedster Jay Kennedy-Harris and tall Sam Weideman have been named emergencies.   

Kent and J.Smith have been listed on the extended interchange, along with youngster Billy Stretch and rebounder Josh Wagner.

As announced earlier in the week, co-captain Jack Viney (plantar fascia) and utility Tom Bugg (six-match suspension) were ruled out. And ball-winner Dom Tyson was unable to come up after hurting his knee late in Melbourne’s 35-point loss to the Sydney Swans at the MCG last Friday night.

Defender Mitch White was omitted when the initial squad was selected, after he played his first match of the season last round.

For Hogan, it will be just his fifth match this season, as the young-gun has had to deal with a challenging year.

After being suspended for two matches, which forced him to miss rounds three and four, Hogan returned to play against Richmond at the MCG in round five, but did not play the following week, due to the sad passing of his father, Tony.

Hogan returned to play against Hawthorn in round seven – his most recent match of any sorts – before he missed the next eight weeks with testicular cancer.

Despite all this, the 22-year old has remarkably bounced back to be locked in for Melbourne’s second clash against Carlton this year – an outstanding effort, given what he has been through in 2017.

In other good news, Garlett is back in the side after missing his first match for the season last round with a hamstring injury. The 27-year-old has kicked 29 goals this season to lead Melbourne’s goalkicking and has been one of the stories of the season for the Demons.

Smith, who was named Melbourne’s ‘nominated rookie’ earlier on Thursday (meaning he is eligible to play in the AFL for the rest of the season), will play his second AFL game.

The son of fellow high-flyer Shaun made his debut in round one this year during Melbourne’s win over St Kilda at Etihad Stadium. In that same match, Smith injured his shoulder and missed the next 13 matches.

He made his comeback last weekend for Casey in its loss to Port Melbourne at North Port Oval, but impressed with 21 disposals, eight marks, four tackles and five rebounds.

Kent has played four matches this season, with his most recent appearance coming against North Melbourne in round nine. He has produced some good form for Casey in recent weeks, which included 35 touches coming in one outing.

Trengove, who will be an emergency for the second successive round, has yet to play an AFL match this season. But the popular Demon remains on the cusp of selection, after some impressive VFL form.

Kennedy-Harris has featured in three games for Melbourne in 2017, but like Kent, was not considered for AFL selection last round, after breaking a team rule.  

He has otherwise produced some fine performances with Casey, recently notching up a couple of 40-plus disposal performances, including 47 in one match.  

And Weideman, who kicked six goals for Casey a couple of weeks ago, will be an emergency for the fourth round in a row.

The match to be played at 3.20pm on Sunday.

Melbourne team: round 16

B: Michael Hibberd, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta

HB: Jordan Lewis, Sam Frost, Bernie Vince

C: Jayden Hunt, Christian Petracca, Mitch Hannan

HF: James Harmes, Cam Pedersen, Alex Neal-Bullen

F: Jeff Garlett, Jesse Hogan, Tom McDonald

Foll: Max Gawn, Clayton Oliver, Jake Melksham

I/C: Billy Stretch, Dean Kent, Josh Wagner, Joel Smith

Emg: Jack Trengove, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Sam Weideman

In: Garlett, Kent, Hogan, J.Smith

Out: Tom Bugg (suspension), Dom Tyson (knee), Jack Viney (foot), Mitch White