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Melbourne Football Club

Baker to debut in Perth

MELBOURNE has named its fifth debutant for the season, with Oskar Baker set to face West Coast at Optus Stadium on Friday night.

Baker is one of four inclusions for the red and blue, coming into the team alongside Alex Neal-Bullen, Harrison Petty and Tim Smith.

The Demons were forced to make three changes for Round 9 after Michael Hibberd (collarbone), Jordan Lewis (ankle) and Jake Melksham (foot) were all ruled out with injury following incidents during last week’s win over Gold Coast. Key forward Declan Keilty has been omitted after two games for the Dees.

In exciting news for Baker, he joins Keilty, Marty Hore, Jay Lockhart and Tom Sparrow as debutants for the club this season, while Kade Kolodjashnij, Steven May, Braydon Preuss and Corey Wagner have also worn the red and blue for the first time in 2019.

After missing the backend of last season with a severe hamstring injury, Baker has impressed in the early stages of this year, showing off his pace on the wing for Casey.

The 20-year-old will be entering the game full of confidence after booting two goals in each of his past two games at VFL level.

This week’s changes also provide an opportunity for Petty who has been equally as impressive in the reserves this year.

Petty played one senior game in his debut season last year, and at 197cm, will be looking to play a key role for the Dees in defence on Friday night.

Melbourne is travelling to Perth for the first time since its Preliminary Final loss last year, but the trip will hold no fears for the young Demons side, with 10 fresh faces named for the clash with the Eagles.

View the full side below: