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Three recruits named in AFLX squad

Matt Burgan  February 13, 2018 3:58 PM

Our squad has been guided by where each individual player is at in their program, noting that it’s roughly 40 days until round one – and that’s where our focus is

MELBOURNE has included three draftees in its inaugural AFLX squad of 15 players.

The Demons will play Carlton (6.40pm) and North Melbourne (8.32pm) at Etihad Stadium on Friday night, and if they progress, they will play in the Grand Final at 9.33pm.  

Recruits Charlie Spargo, Bayley Fritsch and Oskar Baker will play their first game of any sorts for Melbourne, after they were all selected in last November’s NAB AFL Draft.

Dion Johnstone, who has yet to make his AFL debut, but played one JLT Community Series match in his first season last year, has also been named.

Neville Jetta is the oldest player in the squad at 28 years old, while Jake Melksham is the most experienced AFL player with 133 games to his name (including 19 with Melbourne). For the record, Tom McDonald has played the most matches for the Demons with 126.  

Tom Bugg is the only other player to have played more than 50 AFL matches – he has 93 under his belt, with 28 coming at Melbourne.

James Harmes, Christian Petracca, Angus Brayshaw, Billy Stretch, Alex Neal-Bullen and Josh Wagner have all played fewer than 50 matches each.  

And Corey Maynard has played just one AFL match.

Craig Jennings will coach his first official AFL match, with senior coach Simon Goodwin handing him the reins.  

“Our squad has been guided by where each individual player is at in their program, noting that it’s roughly 40 days until round one – and that’s where our focus is,” he told melbournefc.com.au.

“But it’s a really good opportunity for us to play 15 players and they’ve all been selected based on being able to cope with the specific nature of AFLX. It’s also a genuine part of their pathway into the team for round one.

“It’s also good to reward some of the boys that have had really big pre-seasons, notably Tom Bugg, Alex Neal-Bullen and Billy Stretch. It’s also a really good opportunity for a few of our young boys to be involved in the night, including draftees Charlie Spargo, Bayley Fritsch and Oskar Baker, and Dion Johnstone, who is in his second year.”

Melbourne AFLX squad

4. James Harmes

5. Christian Petracca

9. Charlie Spargo

10. Angus Brayshaw

15. Billy Stretch

18. Jake Melksham

20. Corey Maynard

25. Tom McDonald

30. Alex Neal-Bullen

31. Bayley Fritsch

32. Tomas Bugg

33. Oskar Baker

37. Dion Johnstone

39. Neville Jetta

42. Josh Wagner