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Melbourne Football Club

Two changes for round 17

Rd 17: Simon's Selection Simon Goodwin runs through the team for the round 17 match with the Bulldogs

MELBOURNE has made two changes for Saturday’s clash against the Western Bulldogs at the MCG.

The Demons have recalled 2015 Melbourne best and fairest winner Bernie Vince and speedy forward/midfielder Jay Kennedy Harris for his first match of the season.

Melbourne has lost injured duo Billy Stretch (toe) and Joel Smith (hip), who suffered their setbacks in the team’s win over Fremantle at TIO Stadium last round.

Vince has missed the past two games, after playing in Melbourne’s opening 13 matches of the season.

In his first week, out of the side, he impressed for Casey Demons and last round he was a carryover emergency.

Kennedy Harris was outstanding in the VFL last weekend and has been in fine form in recent times. He gets his first opportunity for the season, after playing 28 games since making his debut in 2014.

Coach Simon Goodwin said it was disappointing for Stretch, given he was among Melbourne’s best last round and impressed in his second game for the season.

“It’s really unfortunate for Bill,” he told Melbourne Media.

“He came back into the team after working really hard at VFL level and really showed some great, real promise last week.

“His teammates and coaches are really disappointed for him.” 

After getting back on the winners’ list last weekend, Goodwin said every game was important for the rest of the season.

“It was a terrific win in Darwin. It was trying conditions – it was hot and it was humid. It was slippery and like a wet weather game. For the boys to go up and play the way they did … but to have 78 inside 50s to 28 was a great result. Getting the win by 54 points was a pleasing performance,” he said.

“We played the Bulldogs in round 11 and it was quite a contested game. We got beaten in a few areas we really value, so we’re going to have to be at our best to play the way we want to play.

“We’re back in front of our home crowd at the MCG, and we’re looking forward to putting on a really strong performance.”

Melbourne will be aiming to make it two from two against the Bulldogs this year. The match starts at 4:35pm.

Melbourne team: round 17

B: Michael Hibberd, Sam Frost, Neville Jetta
HB: Bernie Vince, Oscar McDonald, Jordan Lewis
C: Tom McDonald, Clayton Oliver, Nathan Jones
HF: Christian Petracca, Jesse Hogan, Angus Brayshaw
F: Jeff Garlett, Bayley Fritsch, Jay Kennedy Harris
Foll: Max Gawn, Jack Viney, James Harmes
I/C: Christian Salem, Charlie Spargo, Jake Melksham, Alex Neal-Bullen

Emg: Dom Tyson, Mitch Hannan, Cameron Pedersen, Sam Weideman

In: Bernie Vince, Jay Kennedy Harris
Out: Billy Stretch (toe), Joel Smith (hip)