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Dees to blood 26-year-old rookie Tim Smith against Cats

Tim Smith hugs VFL coach Justin Plapp after being told he will debut. Picture: melbournefc.com.au

MELBOURNE forward Tim Smith will make his debut against Geelong at Etihad Stadium on Saturday after being upgraded from the rookie list.

Smith was recruited from VFL affiliate Casey Demons in last year's NAB AFL Rookie Draft and comes into the 22 as a direct replacement for the suspended Jesse Hogan.

The 26-year-old is a 192cm key forward and impressed in the Scorpions' recent VFL practice match, booting two goals and collecting 21 possessions.

He was told after training on Thursday morning, with VFL coach Justin Plapp calling him into his office to go complete a review of his weekend match.  

"We just went through a couple of clips and he said 'mate, this stuff's brilliant, but you're not going to be doing it at Casey this week – you're going to be doing it against the Cats'," Smith told the club's website.

"'Plappy' stitched me up a bit, but to get told that you're going to play your first game is something surreal and something that you dreamed about hearing for your whole football life.

"I can't believe the time's come. I froze … that was the moment that it's just changed everything for me, so I can’t wait to get out there this week and show what I've got."

Smith is seemingly preferred in the Dees line-up ahead of veteran Cam Pedersen and big man Jake Spencer.