MELBOURNE has asked recruit Harley Bennell to work on certain areas of his game before again being considered for senior selection.
The Demons haven't been afraid to make big selection calls this year, with 2017 All-Australian defender Michael Hibberd returning last week after also spending time out of the team.
Bennell has taken a giant step towards full fitness at Melbourne, under strength and conditioning boss Darren Burgess and after multiple surgeries, following years of calf setbacks.
The ex-Docker and Sun booted four goals in a reserves scratch match on Sunday but Demons coach Simon Goodwin said he still had to make some improvements for his specific role.
"We've spoken to Harley that he's still building his ability to run at the right intensity for long enough," Goodwin told reporters.
"At the weekend that was much improved, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
"We're continuing to work on him around his contest and defensive elements of the game that's required in his role but he's missed a lot of footy, so our expectations are he's not going to be perfect in that space.
"He does bring something unique to our team but we just need to make sure that he can fill that role to the best of his ability."
Goodwin said Bennell's emotional round two selection, where he won 14 possessions in 50 per cent game time, owed in part to Kozzy Pickett, Mitch Hannan and Aaron vandenBerg being unavailable.
The Demons made seven changes from rounds one to two – factoring in the months of the lockdown – and another five to round four, so the coach is keen to settle the team down.
He wants to persevere with a smaller forward line that revolves around one genuine tall, Tom McDonald, plus some medium-sized options and 'smalls'.
What this all means for Jetta and Jones will be interesting.
Goodwin said Jetta's form tracked in the right direction in the second half of the weekend practice game, while Jones was gradually returning to full fitness.
"Those three guys (including Bennell) are certainly pushing for selection but we won't be rushed or make selection changes just for the sake of it," he said.
"We're really fortunate that our club's now got the availability from a playing list perspective (after so many injuries last year).
"It's been a long time since we've had this pressure for selection spots and that's not only putting pressure on older, more experienced players but also younger players as well."
Melbourne started the week preparing for Sydney but a series of fixture adjustments instead switched its opponent to Richmond for a Sunday clash at the MCG.
All Victorian clubs are also set to temporarily relocate to an interstate quarantine hub next week to keep the season going as the state's COVID-19 numbers keep rising.
The partners of Jack Viney, Jake Lever and McDonald have all given birth this year, while the likes of Jetta and Jones have school-aged children, so there are complications for the Demons.
"We've had some really general discussions with some of our players with families and around, as a club, how we'd be able to look after the," Goodwin said.
"The AFL is really open to that, they want to really look after the families of players and do the best they can, so at this stage we haven't had any concerns raised by our playing group.
"We'll continue to talk to them as it gets closer and when we find out where we're going."