MELBOURNE expects talented young midfielder Angus Brayshaw to recover from his knee injury in time to push for round one selection.
Brayshaw suffered what the club described as a low grade strain to his medial ligament in his left knee in the opening seconds of Saturday's NAB Challenge clash against Port Adelaide.
The 20-year-old was wrapped up in a fierce tackle from Hamish Hartlett and appeared in immediate trouble as he was helped from the ground by two trainers.
After the game and on crutches, Brayshaw was unable to put any weight on his left leg.
But stand-in coach Simon Goodwin assured fans the injury was at the minor end of the spectrum and that he should be ready to go for the Demons' season-opener against Greater Western Sydney on March 26 at the MCG.
"It's just a minor medial, so we'll just assess him as the week goes on," Goodwin said.
"He's an important player for us, we know he's a really talented player so we just put him on ice [today].
"We think he'd definitely be available for round one, it's on the minor side … he's really confident that he'll pull up fine."
The Demons blooded four new recruits on Saturday, with Tom Bugg, Ben Kennedy and draftee Clayton Oliver particularly impressive.
Angus Brayshaw was assisted from the ground within the first minute of play after suffering a leg injury. https://t.co/eVMWc4RJxG— AFL (@AFL) February 27, 2016
Bugg finished the game with 14 possessions and seven tackles, Kennedy managed 15 and a goal and Oliver won 11 and laid four tackles in his first taste at the elite level.
Goodwin was confident all three would be able to enjoy influential seasons.
"That's what we drafted Clayton for, he's a contested ball player, he's good around stoppages and he showed that today," he said.
"He's an exciting talent for us.
"Ben Kennedy and Tom Bugg's second half, especially around the contest, which is something we brought them to the club for – their real competitiveness – I thought they put that on show.
"They sort of willed themselves into the game those two and they're going to be really handy additions to the football club."
Ruckman Max Gawn was a match-winner for the Demons, dominating his position against Matthew Lobbe.
The big man had 42 hit-outs and 15 possessions to Lobbe's 26 and six.
Goodwin tipped the 24-year-old to break out in 2016.
"He's had an outstanding summer, Max, he's trained extremely well," he said.
"His training indicates he's going to take the next step as a ruckman.
"We know he's got a lot of development and improvement left in him but for his first hit-out today I thought he was outstanding against a quality ruckman."