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Brayshaw one of four changes, Watts out

Matt Burgan  August 11, 2017 5:00 PM

MELBOURNE has finalised its side for Sunday’s clash against St Kilda at the MCG, making four changes.

On Thursday night, the Demons brought back first-year player Mitch Hannan, naming him in the starting 18, while midfielder Angus Brayshaw, young tall Sam Weideman and rebounder Josh Wagner were confirmed in the final 22 on Friday. Brayshaw, Weideman, Wagner and utility James Harmes have been named on the interchange.

Defenders Christian Salem and Sam Frost were omitted from the initial squad, while forward Jack Watts and last week’s debutant Corey Maynard have been left out and relegated to emergencies.

Speedster Billy Stretch, who has played eight matches this season, has also been named an emergency. 

Coach Simon Goodwin said Melbourne’s inclusions had all worked hard to regain their place in the side.

“Sam Weideman has been terrific at VFL level and really launching at the footy and contesting well and following up at ground level,” he told Melbourne TV.  

“It’s been a hell of a journey for Angus, but he comes into the team and back from concussion. He’s been doing some fantastic things at VFL level.

“Josh Wagner has been similar. He went back to VFL level and really showed that he’s got capabilities to not only play down back, but also through the midfield.

“And Mitch Hannan … he was rested last week and trained incredibly well this week and looks like he’s got his real energy back for the contest and we’re looking forward to getting him back in the forward half of the ground.

“We’ve got some things that we need to continue to work on with all of those players [that were omitted], but we’ve got four players who are coming into the team that are certainly full of confidence and in form.”

It will be Brayshaw’s first AFL match since round two, as two separate concussion incidents have interrupted much of his season.  

From rounds six to 17, he played just one match in mid-May. But he has played the past three matches for Casey Demons and was his side’s best against Sandringham last round, winning 34 disposals.

Weideman will play his first match since round nine and add to his six appearances this season, following some impressive form for Casey.

Wagner, who has played seven matches this year, was a carryover emergency for Melbourne’s clash against GWS Giants in Canberra last round.

For Salem, Frost and Watts, it is the first time they’ve been left out of the team this year.  

Salem missed one match through suspension in round 10 and was sidelined with a hamstring injury from rounds 15 to 17.

Frost has played every game since round four, after a foot injury interrupted him in the pre-season matches and early in the season.

And Watts missed four matches from rounds 14 to 17 with a hamstring injury.

The match will see Melbourne (10th) up against St Kilda (11th) in a crucial battle for both clubs.

The game starts at 1.10pm.

Melbourne team: round 21

B: Michael Hibberd, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta

HB: Bernie Vince, Cam Pedersen, Jayden Hunt

C: Nathan Jones, Clayton Oliver, Jordan Lewis

HF: Christian Petracca, Tom McDonald, Jake Melksham

F: Jeff Garlett, Mitch Hannan, Alex Neal-Bullen

Foll: Max Gawn, Dom Tyson, Jack Viney

I/C: Angus Brayshaw, Sam Weideman, Josh Wagner, James Harmes

Emg: Jack Watts, Billy Stretch, Corey Maynard

In: Brayshaw, Hannan, Weideman, Wagner

Out: Salem, Frost, Watts, Maynard