Forgotten Melbourne midfielder Jack Trengove is in line to play his first AFL game in over two years when the Demons take on Hawthorn this weekend.
Chronic foot stress fractures have kept Trengove sidelined since round two of the 2014 season but coach Paul Roos says the former club co-captain has put his hand up to make a long-awaited AFL return with a string of good performances in the VFL.
“He’s getting close, there’s no doubt. His form’s been really, really good,” Roos said on Wednesday.
“I don’t want to build it up too much then not pick him, so we’ve got to be a bit careful, but it will be big for the club, it will be big for Jack, it will be big for everyone (when he plays).
“Jack understands where he’s at. He understands he’s close, but he’s not panicking.
“Clearly he would want to play now, as we’ve spoken about, so he’s really in the mix of getting picked, which I think is a fantastic effort from him given where he’s come from.”
Trengove’s rapid rise into AFL calculations has surprised Roos, the coach admitting the 24-year-old was about five weeks ahead of schedule.
Trengove, the second overall pick at the 2009 draft, appears an obvious replacement for injured midfielder Jack Viney, who will miss up to a month after undergoing surgery on a broken knuckle suffered in last week’s loss to Port Adelaide in Alice Springs.
The combative onballer also accepted a one-week ban for striking Port’s Brad Ebert in an ugly incident.
Roos wants his players to have a hard edge and, while he agreed Viney had crossed the line in this instance, he won’t ask him to rein in his aggression.
“If it becomes a pattern then you tend to sit down and have a chat to him,” he said.
“He would know that he’s disappointed with himself and he shouldn’t have done it, so if that’s the case you tend to leave them alone but when it becomes a pattern that’s when, as a coach, you tend to step in.”
Roos will look at five or six players he said were in the mix for AFL call-ups against the Hawks, with Chris Dawes, Clayton Oliver and Lynden Dunn all in contention.
Heritier Lumumba isn’t one of those players but Roos said the veteran defender has made considerable progress in his recovery from a concussion suffered in round six.