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Brayshaw set for VFL hit-out in bid to prove fitness for round one

Ben Guthrie  March 16, 2016 8:09 PM

Brayshaw injured at first bounce Melbourne midfielder Angus Brayshaw gets up hobbling mere seconds into the match
AFL 2016 NAB Challenge - Port Adelaide v Melbourne

Angus Brayshaw limps off the field against Port Adelaide

ANGUS Brayshaw will look to prove his fitness for Melbourne's opening round clash against Greater Western Sydney by lining up for the Casey Scorpions in a VFL practice match on Saturday.

Brayshaw injured the medial ligament in his left knee in the opening seconds of the Demons' first NAB Challenge game against Port Adelaide.

But the 20-year-old, who finished fifth in Rising Star voting last season, has progressed solidly in his rehabilitation program and will be in calculations for round one.

"He trained with the group on Monday and again today (Wednesday)," Demons high performance manager Dave Misson told AFL.com.au.

"He just needs to get some decent minutes and impress the coaches on Saturday and he'll be in the frame for selection."

Christian Salem has been declared a certain starter for round one despite having a scan on his injured finger on Tuesday.

"He copped a ball on the finger and it's a little bit sore, but there's no structural damage," Misson said.

"He's in absolutely no doubt whatsoever and he'll train next week and definitely play (round one)."

Midfielder Aaron vandenBerg will be "touch and go" for Saturday's practice match against Port Melbourne at Casey Fields as he tries to overcome an ankle complaint.

VandenBerg suffered the injury stepping on teammate Dom Tyson's heel against the Western Bulldogs at Craigieburn a fortnight ago.

Veteran defender Lynden Dunn will also lineup for the Scorpions on Saturday after he missed Melbourne's final pre-season match against St Kilda with a groin complaint.

Heritier Lumumba, who has recovered from off-season surgery on both of his ankles, will also feature for the Scorpions.

The rebounding defender played around 80 minutes for Casey last weekend but will be given a full game on Saturday to throw himself into the selection mix for round one.

The Demons have opted to give Christian Petracca, who injured his toe playing basketball at Christmas time, a full month of solid training before having him ready to play.

A torn anterior cruciate ligament at the start of last season also factoring into the caution Melbourne will show with Petracca.

"He's training fully with the group and he's essentially recovered from the toe injury but he's only done two weeks of training coming off an ACL," Misson said.

"We want him to have at least four weeks of full training before we let him play."

Jack Trengove is due to play his first game in the VFL when Casey next takes the field against Box Hill on April 2.

Trengove is back in full training after an arduous rehabilitation program following dual surgeries on his foot last season.

Colin Garland (corked quad) and Neville Jetta (corked knee) have been prescribed a light week after suffering minor injuries on the weekend.

Jake Spencer (plantar fasciitis) has been given a week off training and the Demons' fitness staff will assess where he is at next week, while Matt Jones (concussion) will likely join training on Friday.

Ben Newton joined in full training on Monday and is around a month away from returning to the field.