AFTER 310 days on the sidelines, Jake Melksham will make his long-awaited return to football this weekend.

The rewarding news comes after a mountain of dedicated work from Melksham, who suffered a devastating season-ending ACL injury during Round 24 last year.

The 32-year-old has been praised within the four walls of the football club for his attitude to his rehab journey and his ability to still make a positive impact within the team.

Selwyn Griffith, the club’s High-Performance Manager, made the exciting announcement to the group on Monday, highlighting the Demons’ efforts over the past 10 months.

“We all know he’s been on a long journey back from the ACL injury,” Griffith said.

“The collaboration he’s had with Staf (Greg Stafford) to work on his forward craft and then the work that he’s been putting in at training.

“It’s not only been the last month in how he’s attacked [his rehab], it’s been the entire period and especially the last six to eight weeks, where he’s pretty much been in and around full training.

“It all means that he’s finally here and will be available to play this weekend.

“It’s the exciting part of it, where we get to see him reap the rewards.”

In further injury news out of Melbourne, Harrison Petty, who was subbed off during the club’s loss to Brisbane on Friday night, will need to successfully complete training to be available in Round 17.

“Harrison had some hamstring awareness at the back end of the game,” Griffith said.

“He's presented really well clinically, and we’ll continue to progress him through the week to give him the best chance to be available for this week's game.”

Jake Bowey was ruled out of the Lions clash following a corkie at training, with Griffith optimistic that the defender would be fit to play this weekend.  

“Jake had a contact incident during training leading into the Brisbane game,” Griffith said.

“We gave him every opportunity to train on our captain's run, which he did, but he still had a bit of residual soreness during that session.

“So, we chose to give him the week off and he'll integrate into training this week to test for his availability for selection.”

Christian Salem was also ruled out of Round 16 following some lingering knee soreness. 

“Christian trained last week fully with the team,” Griffith said.

“In our discussions with him about how to best prepare him, we felt it best to not play him last week.

“[This was] to give him the best opportunity to be ready for AFL football for the back end of the season.

“He'll integrate back into training this week, and we'll give him every opportunity to be available for selection this week.”

After suffering a concussion during Round 13 of the VFL, Will Verrall will complete a main training this week to be available.

“Will's progressed really well through the concussion protocol,” Griffith said.

“So, he'll integrate into our full training session this Thursday to be available for this weekend's game.”

In more exciting news, Marty Hore is on the final stretch towards a return from a calf injury that he sustained during Round 7 of the VFL.

“Marty trained really strongly over the weekend,” Griffith said.

“He’ll integrate into full training to be available for selection this week as well.”  

After suffering some knee soreness, Ben Brown is taking positive steps forward towards full fitness.

“Ben had a session on the weekend which went really well,” Griffith said.

“He'll train on Thursday, and we'll get a clearer picture on his availability following that training session this week.”

Charlie Spargo (Achilles) and Christian Petracca (spleen) are both continuing to progress through their respective rehab schedules.