CHRISTIAN Salem won't become a permanent midfielder for Melbourne this season, but the 18-year-old's off-field work with Bernie Vince, Daniel Cross and Nathan Jones has him perfectly positioned to make the transition in the years to come.

Since making his debut against the Sydney Swans in round six, the first-year Demon has been eased into his role in Melbourne's side by spending the majority of his time as a high half-forward.

But he certainly has the capabilities of playing as an on-baller, having spent much of his junior career at Brighton Grammar, the Sandringham Dragons and Vic Metro in the engine room.

For Salem, learning how to play in the midfield at AFL level is a work in progress.

"I'm trying to take it all in and learn as much as I can," Salem told

"I'm slowly learning that and learning off the senior guys like Bernie (Vince), Jonesy (Nathan Jones) and Crossy (Daniel Cross)."

The Demons feel they have something special in Salem.

His game against Port Adelaide last week confirmed that.

Salem had a tidy 16-disposal and two-goal performance in the club's narrow loss to the Power, but there were two particular highlights which stamped him as a player of the future.'s Saturday Showreel highlighted Salem's pin-point angled pass to set Rohan Bail up for an easy goal.

This and his last quarter major, which came about after some superb repeat efforts, smacked of a player who feels like he belongs at the top level.

"He just sees the game really well. He knows where to run and he always seems to find space," teammate Cameron Pedersen says.

Salem has already made an impact in Paul Roos' new look side as he readies himself for the sternest test of his young career against Collingwood at the MCG on Monday.

The No. 9 pick in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft was forced to bide his time before making his debut, but from the small sampling of Salem's five-game career it's easy to see why Melbourne were so keen to bring him into the club.

The club believes he will eventually become a midfielder, but they won't push him in there until he is ready.

The step up from junior football to senior football has been a profound one, according to Salem, and on Monday at the MCG the leap will become even more noticeable.

With an attendance of 60,000 expected for the Queen's Birthday showdown, Salem is readying himself for the biggest crowd he has ever played in front of.

"To us, this game has an added touch," Salem said.

"There's going to be a bigger crowd than usual and I'm sure all the Melbourne supporters will come out and support us.

"We're all raring to go and we'll be coming to play."

Twitter: @AFL_BenGuthrie