Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin has confirmed recruit Brodie Grundy will be used as both a ruckman and forward target against Carlton, but has flagged the Demons could be forced into changing their plans mid-game if needed.
Grundy has been utilised at the VFL level as a forward over the past month as Goodwin looks to have the veteran ruckman build his attacking craft.
A season-ending injury to defender-turned-forward Harrison Petty, coupled with the absence of Bayley Fritsch, Tom McDonald and Ben Brown, has opened the door for Grundy to land a reprieve in the senior side.
The former Collingwood best and fairest winner has struggled to show significant improvement as a forward, with his return potentially hampering Max Gawn's impact as the standout ruck option, with the Demons skipper playing some of the best football of his career in recent weeks as Grundy suited up for Casey.
The duo will reunite on Saturday night at the MCG, with the Demons hopeful for a more efficienct output from their top recruit in the forward half.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Goodwin said the Demons will stick to their plan in finding a balance from the Grundy-Gawn combination, but won't rule out any potential mid-game tactic changes.
"He's been working incredibly hard to work on his ability forward of the ball and now we get a chance to have a look at it. We're excited about that," Goodwin said of Grundy's return.
"Sometimes injury creates opportunity. This is an opportunity we've planned for. The last month we haven't had a lot of footy to have a great look at it, but we feel like it's time to give it a go.
"We're excited by the possibility of it. There's clearly going to be times where he's playing forward and there'll be times when he's in the ruck.
"We've said all along we love the combination in the ruck and what it provides for us. It's about maximising their input when they're forward of the ball.
"We've got a plan heading into the game, but that may change in-game. You never how that one's going to play out."
Grundy, who has faced questions over his future with Melbourne despite arriving at the club last October on a contract that will run until the end of 2027, is said to be champing at the bit for to prove any doubters wrong.
Goodwin said the opportunity is "right in front of Brodie" to cement his place as a dual-position talent.
"He's excited, he wants to play AFL footy,"
"He's in the team, he's got an opportunity. He's invested a lot in the last month to get himself selected. He wants to be a part of it and he wants to be a part of the Melbourne footy club.
"This is an opportunity that's right in front of Brodie and he wants to take it with both hands."
Selection pressure will only remain weighted on Grundy's shoulders next week no matter the output from Round 22, with McDonald likely to be in the mix as he makes his return through the VFL this weekend.
Fristch is also in line to play before the end of the home and away season - potentially returning from a foot injury earlier than expected, while Brown has been managed for this week and is likely to be available ahead of Melbourne's matchup with Hawthorn for Round 23.
One forward who has taken advantage of Goodwin's reshuffled plans in attack is veteran Jake Melksham, who booted 11 goals between Rounds 16-20 after returing to the senior side following just four prior games for the year.
Off-contract as the season nears a close, Melksham's future remains up in the air, however his recent form could lead to a new extension in the red and blue.
"I'd like to think (Melksham plays on in 2024)," Goodwin said of his veteran forward.
"He's playing some exceptional football. I think at the start of the year he was just trying to make sur ehe got his body right and position in the team to the point where he could play some really exciting footy. He's been able to do that. We're hopeful he'll continue that for the rest of the year.
"Those type of decisions looking forward will be made at the end of the year. If Jake continues to perform the way he's performing I can't see why he wouldn't be going on."
Melbourne and Carlton will go head-to-head at the MCG on Saturday night, with the game scheduled to start at 7:30pm (AEST).