BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 30: Steven May of the Demons celebrates kicking a goal during the round 15 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Melbourne Demons at The Gabba on June 30, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

A trio of Melbourne stars are set to make their return to Simon Goodwin's side for their Round 23 top-of-the-table clash with Geelong this weekend.

Following the Demons' win over Adelaide on Sunday, Melbourne are placed atop the mantle of the ladder with one round remaining.

The AFL's scheduled conclusion to the 2021 home and away campaign couldn't have been scripted better, with the Demons set to face the second-placed Cats at GMHBA Stadium.

The winner is likely to earn the minor premiership crown, with Port Adelaide the only outside chance of stealing top spot.

The Demons will gain a major boost ahead of the match, with Jack Viney making his return from suspension, while Steven May (general soreness) and Tom McDonald (back) are also in the frame.

Speaking after his side's 41-point win over the Crows, Goodwin confirmed the trio are set to feature in the must-win match at Kardinia Park.

"He (May) was really sore, didn’t recover as well as we would have liked and we were in a position we didn't need to take a risk with him," Goodwin said.

"We have got three guys who didn’t play today who will be available next week and we are building some momentum in the backend of the year and the depth of our squad in good shape.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 07: Tom McDonald of the Demons (left) is seen on crutches with Christian Petracca of the Demons during the 2019 AFL round 16 match between the Carlton Blues and the Melbourne Demons at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 07, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

"We know the challenge we have got next week against good opposition on their home ground and we know we have got to keep getting better to make sure our game can challenge the best in the competition."

Geelong will also be weighing up a number of selection calls, but will be thankful superstar duo Tom Hawkins and Patrick Dangerfield dodged suspensions from the MRO for separate incidents during the Cats' win over St Kilda on Saturday night.

The Cats look to have lost key defender Tom Stewart for the season, while Mitch Duncan, Zach Tuohy and Gryan Miers are unlikely to return from injury until the finals.

AFL Rd 3 - Geelong v Carlton
GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 20: Mitch Duncan of the Cats looks dejected after losing the round 3 AFL match between the Geelong Cats and the Carlton Blues at GMHBA Stadium on June 20, 2020 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Forward Gary Rohan will be a chance to line up against the Demons, in what will be an ideal return for Geelong's three-pronged attack in Rohan, Hawkins an Jeremy Cameron.

A win against the Demons will land Geelong their second minor premiership in three years, assuming Port Adelaide fail to make the jump this weekend.

The Power will need to defeat the Bulldogs emphatically, in what will be a third vs fourth clash to round-out the season.

Ken Hinkley's men will need Geelong to defeat the Demons, while Port are able to leapfrog the Cats' percentage with a big enough victory over the Bulldogs.


The AFL are yet to confirm the Round 23 fixture, with the last remaining finals spot up for grabs.

Essendon currently hold onto eighth place, while the Eagles, Dockers, Tigers and Saints still remain a mathematical chance to land a spot in the September action.