WITH Wednesday’s list lodgement looming, the Demons have locked in five more players for the 2021 season.
Jay Lockhart, who has spent the past two years on the rookie list, has been upgraded to the senior list with a one-year extension, while Toby Bedford and James Jordon have also been offered new deals.
Mitch Brown and Kade Chandler will too remain with the club, as rookies.
“We are pleased that these players will get an opportunity to continue their careers at Melbourne as we finalise our list prior to the Draft,” General Manager of Football Facilities and Administration Josh Mahoney told Melbourne Media.
“Jay has shown good improvement each year and deserves to be upgraded to the senior list.
“Kade, Toby and James were impacted by the lack of VFL games this season, but all showed great signs of development and will be pushing hard for senior games next season.
“Mitch Brown played the role we needed him to play this season and showed that he can still perform at AFL level.”
Lockhart’s elevation comes after a unique journey to Melbourne, where he joined as the club’s first player via the pre-season supplementary selection period (SSP).
Going from working on the docks to playing for the Demons overnight, the Tasmanian-born footballer has now featured 22 times at AFL level – he played 10 games this past season.
The 24-year-old brings plenty of grit to the Dees’ mix and has well and truly earned his spot on the senior list.
Bedford, who made his debut in Round 1, showed a glimpse of what he can do in 2020.
He managed eight disposals in each of his two games this season – he also played in Round 16 – and embraced the pressure at AFL level.
While his best is yet to come, another solid pre-season will only benefit the 20-year-old.
Jordon is another who will be looking to make the most of his summer.
The versatile youngster impressed in Melbourne’s practice matches early in the year, before an unfortunate finger injury halted his push for selection.
He’s yet to make his AFL debut, but with his endurance and attitude, he isn’t far off from earning his shot.
For 30-year-old Brown, the 2021 season will be all about building on his form.
The former Bomber, who grabbed his opportunity with Melbourne through the SSP rule, showed enough in his first season as a Demon, with his versatility and experience the standout across five games.
Brown finished the season on a high receiving two Brownlow Medal votes for his 13-mark performance in Round 18 and will look to build on this over the pre-season.
Chandler will be just as keen to take his game up a notch next year.
After fracturing his finger on debut in 2019, the 20-year-old hasn't been seen again at AFL level, but built on his game across the past 12 months.
The left footer was swung into defence during practice matches this year and showed an ability to both lockdown his opponent and generate attack from half-back.
Following Wednesday’s list lodgement, the Dees will turn their attention to next month’s draft to round out their list for 2021.