IN: Brown, Gawn, Jones, O.McDonald, Rivers, J.Wagner
OUT: Fritsch (omitted), Harmes (omitted), Lockhart (omitted), T.McDonald (omitted), Preuss (omitted), Sparrow (collarbone)
Gawn leads big ins
Melbourne will benefit from the inclusion of two big names against the Saints, with Max Gawn and Nathan Jones ready to return from respective injuries.
But the ins don’t stop there, with four other Demons rewarded for their recent form in the reserves practice matches.
Mitch Brown, Oscar McDonald, Trent Rivers and Josh Wagner have all earned a recall, providing a new look to the Demons’ side in Round 14.
The ones that missed
The Dees were forced to make one change with Tom Sparrow breaking his collarbone last week, but the other five exclusions were omitted from the 22.
Despite two strong performances, Braydon Preuss was forced out for Gawn, while the club has opted for a fresh look across half-back and deep inside 50.
Bayley Fritsch’s withdrawal from the senior side comes after an incident on Friday morning, with the club deciding to leave the 23-year-old out of the clash at TIO Traeger Park.
“Bayley was late for training this morning which is clearly unacceptable,” GM of Football Josh Mahoney told Melbourne Media.
"The decision to not select a player for a game is never taken lightly, particularly given the importance of this week's game against St Kilda.
"We have a number of players that have been performing in scratch matches and committing fully to the program for a number of weeks who deserve an opportunity.
"Bayley has accepted the decision, played and performed well in a scratch match today against Collingwood, and will be available for selection next week."
What it means
It seems like Melbourne is playing eight-point games every week at the moment, and it just about is.
The Saints sit two wins clear on the ladder, but with a bye to come next week, a Demon win would close that gap.
While it’s too early to know exactly how many wins are required to qualify for finals in a 17-game season, a loss this weekend puts the Dees in a difficult position with four rounds to play.
Look out for
Mitch Hannan chalks up his 50th game in the red and blue on Saturday and will be an important part of his side’s set-up forward of the ball.
The 26-year-old will look to bring his best pressure game against a fast Saints line-up, but will also need to get dangerous on the attack if Melbourne is to kick a winning score.
St Kilda has been one of the biggest surprise packets of 2020, winning eight of its 13 games to date.
While they don’t have as many big names as some of the top-eight sides, they have some seriously quick players and move the ball as well as any side to create good looks on goal.
It’ll be important for the Demons to slow them down where possible and prevent the Saints from switching the ball from wing to wing.