WE CONTINUE our review of the 2018 season for every Melbourne-listed player, with numbers 26 to 30.
#26 – Sam Weideman
Games played: 10
Still in the early stages of his development as a key tall, the 21-year-old was a brilliant addition to Melbourne’s forward line in the final weeks of the season.
Although he played five games prior to Jesse Hogan’s injury in round 21, Weideman embraced the opportunity to step up in the absence of Hogan.
In those final five games of the season, Weideman kicked a goal in every match while averaging 2.6 contested marks and 1.8 marks inside 50 per game.
Weideman was magnificent in the elimination final against Geelong, kicking three goals to go with three contested marks and 24 touches.
#27 – Harley Balic
Games played: 0
The former Docker showed promise in the VFL, kicking 16 goals in 11 games for Casey – including a haul of six against Coburg.
However Balic’s passion for the game faded in 2018 and he announced his retirement in early August.
#28 – Oscar McDonald
Games played: 25
The 22-year-old key defender had arguably one of his best seasons at AFL level, playing all 25 games.
Across those 25 games, he also spent more time on the field than any other Demon – featuring in 96% of game time.
Usually lined up on the opposition’s number one forward, McDonald was able to hold his own in the majority of contests against some of the league’s most prolific goalkickers.
He finished the season as the club leader for average one percenters (6.3) and spoils (6) per game.
#29 – Jayden Hunt
Games played: 6
The dashing half-back was unable to replicate his consistent form in 2017, managing just six matches in a stop-start season.
Five of his AFL matches came before the mid-season bye, before he suffered an ankle injury which saw him miss nearly two months of football.
He reinjured the same ankle in his return to AFL level in round 21.
Hunt had a consistent year at VFL level, averaging 18.1 disposals across his 10 matches for Casey.
#30 – Alex Neal-Bullen
Games played: 25
Nibbler was another consistent contributor for Melbourne in 2018, taking part in all 25 matches.
The hard-running forward was key to Melbourne’s ability to lock the ball in the forward half, averaging 1.4 tackles inside 50 per game.
On the ball, he managed 27 goals for the season while averaging 16. 9 disposals per game.
Neal-Bullen’s season was capped off by selection in the AFL Players Association’s 22Under22 team.
One of his best game’s for 2018 came against the Crows in round 10, when he recorded 23 disposals and three goals in Alice Springs.