MELBOURNE coach Simon Goodwin has bristled at suggestions Angus Brayshaw is suffering from a fitness issue, labelling the midfielder's game time as a "non-topic" and saying he is "sick of talking about it".

Brayshaw played just 65 per cent game time in Sunday night's loss to Brisbane, the fourth time in seven matches so far this year that he has spent more than an entire quarter on the bench.

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In only one match this season has Brayshaw played more than 80 per cent game time, against Gold Coast in round six.

The Demons midfielder won just nine disposals in Sunday's defeat to the Lions, while he is averaging just 73 per cent game time so far this season.

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That is significantly less than fellow Melbourne onballers Ed Langdon (92 per cent), Christian Petracca (89 per cent) and Clayton Oliver (83 per cent).

Meanwhile, Brayshaw's lengthy bench stints have come despite game time being reduced by 20 per cent this season in the wake of the competition's COVID-19 suspension period.

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However, Goodwin has scoffed at suggestions of a potential fitness or form issue, claiming his frequent bench stints are more related to circumstances within games.

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"It's a subject I'm sick of talking about," Goodwin said.

"He had 79 per cent, 77 per cent and 82 per cent in the three previous weeks. He got stuck on the bench a couple of times in a rotation (against Brisbane) and there weren't many goals scored in the game.

"It's a non-topic for me. It's something we should all move on from."




Rd 1 v West Coast



Rd 2 v Carlton



Rd 4 v Geelong



Rd 5 v Richmond



Rd 6 v Gold Coast



Rd 7 v Hawthorn



Rd 8 v Brisbane



Despite his quiet night against the Lions, Goodwin assured Brayshaw of his position in the side and backed the midfielder to rebound in the midst of a season in which he is yet to tally 20 disposals in a match.

"Angus will be playing," Goodwin said.

"He's a really good player. He obviously had a quiet game last week, but his form leading up to that has been solid. He probably hasn't quite been at his best, but we'll get a response out of him. He'll be back to his best very soon."

Melbourne will manage Harley Bennell for Thursday night's encounter with Port Adelaide, while key forward Tom McDonald is a chance to return after booting four goals in a scratch match last weekend.

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The Demons opted for young duo Sam Weideman and Luke Jackson against the Lions, but Goodwin said the club would consider a three-man tall forward line also featuring McDonald at some stage in the future.

"I think we're pretty happy with the way the two talls are functioning," Goodwin said.

"But I'm certainly not saying we can't operate with three either. It's something we've never looked at. They're all a slightly different type of tall.

"At some stage, we'll look at it. Whether it's this week, we'll wait and see. I've got no doubt that there's potentially going to be an opportunity to look at it at some stage.

"You never know … when you trial things and you test and learn, sometimes you find things that really suit your footy club. We've got some assets there that we want to maximise and that's one of them that we'd like to try at some stage."