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Goodwin confirms Watts will play in VFL

Nathan Schmook  August 11, 2017 12:51 PM

(My reasoning is) pretty clear. He hasn't been playing in great form and Jack understands that

MELBOURNE forward Jack Watts has been dropped for Sunday's crunch game against St Kilda, and will line up for the Casey Demons in the VFL on Saturday in an attempt to rediscover his best form.

Demons coach Simon Goodwin confirmed on Friday morning Watts had been dropped after kicking just one goal in his past three games since returning from a month-long hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, midfielder Angus Brayshaw will play his first senior game since round two, having racked up 34 possessions in the VFL and recovered well from the concussions that have sidelined him this season.

Goodwin said Watts, who trained with the VFL squad on Thursday, had not met the "level of expectation around performance" and would line up against the Northern Blues in the VFL on Saturday.

"(My reasoning is) pretty clear. He hasn't been playing in great form and Jack understands that," Goodwin said on Friday.

"He's had three weeks back from a four-week hamstring and hasn't played to the level he expects and what we expect.

"He's no different to any other player on our list. There is a level of expectation around performance when you're in the senior side and we've made three or four changes this week, and he's just one of those."

Watts has been named in the Demons' 25-man squad, which will be trimmed to 22 at 5pm AEST on Friday.

Goodwin said the tall forward understood his form had been sub-standard and the club had not put a timeframe on his stint in the VFL. 

"That conversation was really easy. It’s based around performance and what we’re trying to build as a footy club," the coach said.

"Jack understands that, he knows he hasn’t been playing his best footy, he’s really clear on that.

"There’s things in his game that need to improve … he’s well aware of those, they’re things that I’m certainly not going to discuss publicly."

Brayshaw's season got off to a rocky start when he copped a heavy hit against Carlton in round two, and he was cleaned up by an illegal hit in the VFL three weeks later, missing two matches with concussion.

In his return match in the VFL he copped another heavy hit and was sidelined for the next two months as the Demons took a conservative approach with his recovery. 

Goodwin said the 21-year-old's return would give the club a boost ahead of an important clash against St Kilda that will see both club's finals chances put on the line.

"He’s a quality player in our side and what he’s gone through has been really difficult," Goodwin said.

"Because of the concussion, no one really knows the effects and where it’s all headed.

"He’s trained incredibly hard, he’s played some strong VFL footy and he gives the whole club and our supporters and our players a really big lift."

The Demons will discuss bringing young forward Sam Weiderman into the team for his first game since round nine as a replacement for Watts.

Goodwin said they could also experiment with a smaller line-up in areas of the ground after dropping key defender Sam Frost. 

He said small forward Jeff Garlett would return to Melbourne in time for Sunday's match after travelling to Perth this week for a personal matter.