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Dee-saster: Star duo could miss two months

Tom McDonald and Jack Viney have been ruled out for 6-8 weeks - AFL,Melbourne Demons,Jack Viney,Tom McDonald,Injuries
Tom McDonald and Jack Viney have been ruled out for 6-8 weeks
They (Viney and McDonald) both had cortisones (injections) during the week. They'll have a couple of weeks off legs so we're not expecting them to be right for six to eight weeks in terms of rebuilding them up.
Simon Goodwin

MELBOURNE has suffered a massive blow on the eve of the season with co-captain Jack Viney and star forward Tom McDonald now ruled out for up to two months with foot injuries.

Coach Simon Goodwin dropped the bombshell news at his press conference on Thursday.

The coach also revealed young forward Bayley Fritsch would make his debut against Geelong on Sunday and that best and fairest winner Clayton Oliver has been cleared to take his place in the side despite knee soreness.

"They (Viney and McDonald) both had cortisones (injections) during the week. They'll have a couple of weeks off legs so we're not expecting them to be right for six to eight weeks in terms of rebuilding them up," Goodwin said. 

"Both those players will be out, but we're trying to set them up as best we can to have impact for when they come in and play for us." 

Viney developed a stress reaction in his foot late last season and has had limited preparation leading into 2018, with a number of setbacks along the journey. 

McDonald, meanwhile, developed some soreness in his toe following the club's first JLT Communirty Series game against North Melbourne and hadn't responded to treatment as quickly as was hoped.

Fritsch, pick No.31 in last year's NAB AFL Draft, featured in the club's two JLT games and acquitted himself very well after a pre-season where he turned plenty of heads. 

The 21-year-old booted 42 goals in 19 games playing for VFL affiliate Casey Demons in the VFL last year. 

"He brings an enormous amount of talent – he's good in the air and good on the ground," Goodwin said. 

"He kicks a lot of goals and puts a lot of pressure on. We're really hopeful that he'll come out and really perform straight away for us.

"He hasn't surprised us but we've seen some elevated growth in him really quickly since being in our environment which is a credit to our coaches and the high performance staff that put a great program around him." 

Oliver, who copped a knock to the knee in the club's final JLT game against St Kilda, was put through a fitness test at the start of training and looked quite proppy early. 

But as the session went on he started to move with more freedom and joined in the late stages of match simulation and a clearance drill to prove his fitness for the clash with the Cats.

Melbourne is confident Oliver did enough to get the green light to play.

"He just had an extended warm-up but he's ready to go and he'll play. We've got 40 players available to play and Clayton will be out there on Sunday," Goodwin said.

Goodwin said Geelong, last year's preliminary finalists, would present a significant test for a team that has ambitions of making finals and being a serious contender. 

"They're a quality footy club, they're a mature group and they've got some really high standards in the way they play and they've got a dynamic midfield," Goodwin said.

"I think we're in for a real treat on Sunday with the quality of football we're going to see."