Melbourne fans could catch a glimpse of the Demons’ forward line of the future on Saturday, with prized recruit Sam Weideman set to line up alongside young star Jesse Hogan.
Weideman, the grandson of Collingwood great Murray Weideman, was the ninth overall pick at last year’s national draft, coach Paul Roos confirming on Thursday he would make his AFL debut against Hawthorn at the MCG.
The Demons have high hopes the 195cm prospect will partner Hogan in attack for years to come, but of more immediate concern for Roos is the fitness of Hogan, who suffered a heavy knock to a knee after clattering into a point post in last week’s thrilling two-point win over Gold Coast.
“He’s progressing … the plan will be to name him then jog him on (Friday) morning – the expectations are that he’ll play, but there’s a little bit of water to go under the bridge yet,” Roos said.
“I don’t think we’ll leave it until Saturday morning, he’s still a young player.
“The next hurdle will be if he doesn’t feel great in the warm-up but I suspect if he gets through (Friday’s fitness test) he should be fine.”
With just four games left in his coaching tenure, Roos has the chance to rid the Demons of another unwanted hoodoo.
Melbourne have broken lengthy losing streaks at Etihad Stadium and against Carlton, Collingwood and Geelong under Roos’ watch and will be looking to snap a 13-game losing run against the Hawks.
“They’re still the benchmark team, they’re two games clear on top of the ladder,” Roos said.
“I think there’s excitement (amongst our players) on the back of last week’s win – it was really important to get our eighth win.
“So there is excitement but you hope it translates … you’ve got to understand the quality of the opposition – that excitement can change pretty quickly if we don’t get off to a good start.”