MELBOURNE has made two changes for Saturday night’s crucial clash against the Western Bulldogs at VU Whitten Oval.
The Demons have named Sarah Lampard, who will play her first AFLW match for 2018, after she injured her hamstring before the start of the home and away season.
Lampard, who played all seven matches in the inaugural AFLW season, has been named on the interchange.
Defender Bianca Jakobsson is also back in the side, after missing last Sunday’s win over Carlton, her former side, at Ikon Park.
Jakobsson was sidelined with a quadriceps injury, which was the first match she missed since making her AFLW debut with the Blues last year.
As already known, leader Mel Hickey is out with a knee injury, which she suffered during the third quarter of Melbourne’s 35-point win last round.
Hickey had surgery earlier in the week to repair her torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Cat Phillips, who has been omitted for the first time since making her AFLW debut in round one last year, and Emma Humphries, have been named Melbourne’s emergencies.
The Demons are set to play in their biggest match since entering the AFLW competition, with a win over the Bulldogs guaranteeing them a place in the Grand Final.
But a loss doesn’t necessarily mean the season is over for Melbourne, although it must rely on GWS and Adelaide Crows losing, plus the Brisbane Lions not gaining enough percentage to jump ahead of the Dees on the ladder – if they defeat the Giants.
The Demons are second on the AFLW ladder, having won four of their six matches.
After winning their opening two rounds, the Demons dropped two in a row, before bouncing back to defeat the Lions and Blues. The Dees have now put themselves in a position to have a crack at this year’s AFLW flag.
Melbourne AFLW team: round seven
B: Anna Teague, Meg Downie, Ashleigh Guest
HB: Harriet Cordner, Bianca Jakobsson, Claudia Whitfort
C: Elise O’Dea
HF: Shelley Scott, Karen Paxman, Tegan Cunningham
F: Eden Zanker, Richelle Cranston, Kate Hore
FOLL: Lauren Pearce, Daisy Pearce, Katherine Smith
I/C: Sarah Lampard, Jas Grierson, Lily Mithen, Brooke Patterson, Aliesha Newman
Emg: Cat Phillips, Emma Humphries
In: Lampard, Jakobsson
Out: Mel Hickey (knee), Cat Phillips