Main content
Melbourne Football Club

Viney touch and go for round one

He's actually been flying at training, so if he can get some run in his legs and some game time, there's no reason he's can't play round one
Jesse Hogan on Jack Viney

JACK Viney's chance of playing in Melbourne's round one clash with Geelong hinges on a VFL practice game in 10 days' time, with the tough midfielder ruled out of match practice this week. 

Viney, 23, has struggled this pre-season with the fallout from the foot injury he suffered in the middle of last year. 

The co-captain didn't play in the Demons' first JLT Community Series clash with North Melbourne and hasn't been named for Thursday night's second game against St Kilda. 

He also won't take part in Casey's VFL practice match against Port Melbourne on Saturday. understands if Viney doesn't line up against Box Hill in the club's third VFL practice hit-out on March 17, he won't be considered for round one.

Forward Jesse Hogan said Viney had expected to play "limited minutes" in this week's VFL practice match, but it is understood the club will put him on ice for at least another week.

The Demons learned the hard way last year with bringing Viney back too soon, after he returned from plantar fascia surgery in just 19 days despite an expected six-week layoff.

However, the hard ball-winner has since admitted he should have taken longer, as he broke down again towards the end of the season with a stress fracture caused by the different running style he'd adopted after the operation.

Hogan said Viney had still looked promising at times through the pre-season and backed his captain to do enough before the season opener to play.

"He's actually been flying at training, so if he can get some run in his legs and some game time, there's no reason he's can't play round one," Hogan said.

Meanwhile, it is understood veteran midfielder Jordan Lewis' round one ambitions won't be threatened by the calf soreness that has ruled him out of the JLT clash with the Saints.

The 31-year-old is considered to have enough conditioning under his belt to remain an expected starter despite the minor hiccup.

"I'm sure he'll start running and ramping it up, it was nothing major and I think he should be right for round one," Hogan said.

Hogan himself has had an uninterrupted pre-season after returning from a mentally refreshing break following his difficult 2017.

The 23-year-old had to endure the passing of his father Tony in April last year, being diagnosed with testicular cancer a month later, and breaking his collarbone in July.

But, he says he's come back to training with a "clear mindset" and a new outlook after being earmarked for more runs through the midfield in 2018.

"It's going to be more of a burst role if Christian Petracca goes forward, I might play in the midfield while he rests, so it will probably only be in little spurts," he said.

"I guess playing as a forward it can get … I wouldn't say monotonous, but it's nice and refreshing to look at the game from a different perspective, and I think 'Goody' [Simon Goodwin] likes to keep his players alert and fresh and educated in all parts of the game.

"It's good fun, I haven't done too much but I did a little bit last year. I've enjoyed it."

He also said he was "super excited" about playing alongside former defender Tom McDonald, who has been slated to play in the forward line on a permanent basis after filling in for Hogan at times last season.

"I think I only played three or four games with him last year and we probably weren't super used to playing with each other," he said.

"But after a full pre-season, who knows, we could be anything."