IN: Brown, Jetta, Spargo
OUT: Bedford, Hibberd (ankle), Preuss
Jetta gets his chance
It’s been a tough season for Neville Jetta, who hasn’t played senior footy since Round 8, but the much-loved Demon has earned a recall for Round 17.
The small defender will play his 154th AFL game against the Giants, adding some experience to the back half of the ground.
After being omitted last week, Mitch Brown returns to the team for his fourth game in Melbourne colours, while Charlie Spargo will also slot back into the forward line.
The ones that missed
Michael Hibberd has been ruled out of Saturday night’s game with ankle soreness, despite getting through the Round 16 game against Fremantle.
He will be joined on the sidelines by Toby Bedford and Braydon Preuss who have been omitted after spending just one week at the top level.
Tom Sparrow wasn’t called upon despite recovering quickly from his collarbone injury, while James Harmes will miss at least one more game with hamstring tightness.
What it means
While Melbourne’s fate is in the hands of others, its season remains alive – if it wins this Saturday night.
Should the Demons secure victory in their final two games of the home and away season, they will require one of the following scenarios to take place:
- Collingwood lose to Gold Coast and Port Adelaide
- St Kilda lose to GWS (and the percentage gap to be made up – currently 5.3%)
- Western Bulldogs lose to Hawthorn or Fremantle
Look out for
The Demons’ struggles in recent weeks have started in the middle.
They’re ranked 18th in the competition for clearances this season and have been losing territory from the centre bounce.
While GWS has a strong midfield, the Crows got the better of them at the stoppages last week, so the team that can win the footy first and lock it in their half of the ground at The Gabba will likely come out on top.
GWS sits in eighth position on the ladder, but with a similar equation ahead.
It needs to beat the Demons this weekend to remain in finals contention, with a tough last round fixture against St Kilda.
While last year’s grand finalists are a talented side, they’ve faced a dip in form recently, winning just two of their last five matches, including a 12-point loss to Adelaide on Tuesday night.