MELBOURNE is set to have more than a dozen listed players feature for Casey this Saturday – a week before the Demons open their season against the Saints at Etihad Stadium.
Elite performance manager Dave Misson said the Demons were eager to have several players have one more hit out before the season proper.
“The match committee is keen to see a few more guys have another game, so we’ll have probably 13 or 14 blokes playing at Casey this week,” he told melbournefc.com.au.
“That’s on the Saturday, but on the Friday, the guys that aren’t playing will have a pretty solid session with a fair bit of footy and running at the end.
“Everything’s looking good for round one and we’re hoping to get some decent minutes into some more guys for Casey and then get everyone going for round one next week.”
Misson said young gun Jesse Hogan was still a chance for round one.
“Jesse’s back has settled really well and we’re hoping he is able to run towards the end of this week and he’ll potentially train next week.
“We’re not writing him off for round one either. But he’s a young kid and we’re not going to risk him with the injury that he’s got, but he has settled very quickly and the doctor’s very happy with him.
“Again, we’ll assess it towards the end of next week.”
Experienced key forwards Mitch Clark and Chris Dawes were still working their way back from injury.
“We’re just concentrating on getting a bit of work into Mitch and making sure his body has got a bank of training that he can rely on for the long season ahead of him,” Misson said.
“We’re trying to set Mitch up for a good season without rushing him back too quickly.”
“Dawesy had that calf tightness in the intra-club a couple of weeks ago and he’s working through his rehab.
“We’re not going to rush him back just for round one. He may be ready, but we want to set him up for a good year, so we’ll work through his training next week and we’ll have a look at how he’s going at the end of next week.”
Defender Colin Garland had “accelerated his progress in the last week” according to Misson.
“He’s had a great week on the track and he’s running really quick doing some agility work,” he said.
“He’ll start to move into some one-on-one skills next week. He’s going very well.”
Misson said ruckman Mark Jamar was likely to return early in the season.
“[He had] another calf complaint a few weeks back now. He’s trained very strongly in rehab the last 10 days, so he’s ticking all of the boxes and he’s another one who will push his claims – if not for round one, then probably for round two,” he said.
Leader James Frawley (chest) and rebounder Dean Terlich (concussion) have pulled up OK after copping injuries in last Saturday’s practice match loss to Hawthorn at Casey Fields.
“Both of those guys trained this morning (Wednesday) and they’ve recovered really well and trained with the group, so they won’t play [for Casey] this weekend, because they’ve played most of the games in the lead-up,” Misson said.
“They will definitely be available for round one.”
But Misson said ruckman Max Gawn and utility Luke Tapscott were set to return via Casey this weekend.
“Both of those guys have had a really good rehab, especially their last week and a half. They trained well with the group and got through well, so they’ll front up for Casey on Saturday,” he said.
Misson said former Crow Aidan Riley, who is on the long-term injury list, due to a leg injury, was progressing well.
“Aidan’s got another month to go on the list. He’s due back to play AFL in round three or VFL in round one, so he’s tracking well,” he said.
“He trained on Monday and he trained with the group on Friday and we’re just trying to get enough footy work into him, so that he’ll be OK to go in round three.”