Three more Melbourne forwards are under injury clouds less than a month away from the Demons' season opener against Sydney, adding to Simon Goodwin's attacking selection concerns.
The Demons are already set to be without Kysaiah Pickett (suspension), Ben Brown (knee), Jake Melksham (knee) and recruit Tom Fullarton (hamstring) for the start of the season, while swingman Joel Smith is facing an uncertain playing future and is currently on a provisional suspension for the potential violation of the Australian Football Anti-Doping Code.
Melbourne have been hoping defender-turned-forward Harrison Petty would be available after spending the majority of the pre-season recovering from a Lisfranc injury that curtailed his 2023 season.
However, a fresh toe injury to the South Australian has potentially compounded Melbourne's selection dilemma, with Petty one of three Demons needing treatment for injury concerns this week.
Melbourne’s R1 forward line Dee-lemma.
Three players already missing through injury.
Petty and McAdam left training early today.
Kozzy Pickett suspended and can’t play Swans in 29 days time. https://t.co/OFbu0uYquq
— Mitch Cleary (@cleary_mitch) February 7, 2024
The situation could leave the Demons without a great deal of support for leading duo Bayley Fritsch and Jacob van Rooyen in their front third for their blockbuster Opening Round trip to the SCG.
Fritsch himself has been on limited duties over the course of the pre-season after battling with a foot injury last year, with the four-time Demons leading goalkicker tipped to be at full strength for the start of the season.
Melbourne have reinforcement options on hand for the already known absence of Kysaiah Pickett, who needs to serve a one-game rough conduct ban for an incident involving Carlton's Patrick Cripps from last September.
Pair Charlie Spargo and Kade Chandler will likely lead the small forward department against the Swans, potentially gaining help from youngster Bailey Laurie, recruit Jack Billings and utility Alex Neal-Bullen.
Melbourne are scheduled to meet with Richmond and Carlton later this month for their practice matches before turning their attention toward their first game of the season proper against Sydney on Thursday, March 7.