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Melbourne Football Club

McDonald take two set to debut

Oscar McDonald to debut Youngster Oscar McDonald will play his first AFL match against Fremantle on Sunday

YOUNG defender Oscar McDonald will make his AFL debut for Melbourne against Fremantle at Domain Stadium on Sunday.

McDonald was told by coach Paul Roos on Wednesday night that he would don the red and blue for the first time in Perth.

Oscar McDonald (right) and brother Tom will play their first AFL match together this weekend. (Photo: Matthew Goodrope)

The 19-year-old was at home with older brother and teammate Tom when Roos called. Although Tom didn’t know the news, he twigged something was up and started to film Oscar’s conversation with Roos, believing it was about his ensuing debut.

“It was about five or six o’clock when I got the phone call from Roosy and it could’ve gone one or two ways. It could’ve been good [news] or not so good,” he told Dee TV.

“He said ‘congratulations on your first match this weekend over in Perth against Fremantle’.

“It was very exciting and he said I would play in the backline and do what I have done for the past 15-odd games in the VFL. [He told me to] keep [doing] what I’ve done to get me into the team and do that on the weekend.”

McDonald, who was selected at No.53 in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft, has since made impressive strides with Casey.

He has played most of the season in the VFL, after spending the first two rounds in the AFL Victoria Development League. McDonald missed two matches with a groin injury in the AFL equivalent of rounds 18 and 19, before returning to play the past two matches with Casey.

McDonald said he had “played his role” in the VFL and believed that was what had given him the opportunity to make his AFL debut.

“It’s been really good. I started playing in the Development League in the VFL and I played two games there … and then worked my way back into the VFL,” he said.

“I didn’t expect to be playing straight away or playing during the year, but I knew if I kept up my form and did what the coaches told me to do, I could sneak a game or two at the end – and that’s what has happened.”

With Tom McDonald having become an integral part of Melbourne – having played 80 matches since his AFL debut in 2011 – Oscar said he couldn’t wait to run out with him for the first time since under 14s. Although back then, Oscar was playing a few grades higher, due to the four-year difference.

“He (Tom) was very excited and it’ll be pretty special and exciting to run out with him on Sunday,” he said.

“I’ve thought about it a bit over the last day and I’m a fairly relaxed guy, but I’d say the nerves will start kicking in when we’re coming down the race and about to run out.

“Hopefully in the first five minutes I’ll get a touch and settle the nerves and I’ll probably be right from there.”

McDonald will be the 11th player to represent Melbourne for the first time this season – and the seventh to make his AFL debut with the Demons in 2015.

He will also be the 1320th player to represent Melbourne since it became a foundation VFL/AFL club in 1897.

Tom McDonald and Oscar McDonald (Photo: Matthew Goodrope)