AN UNBEATEN Melbourne is set to receive a further boost this weekend, with important key forward duo Ben Brown and Sam Weideman expected to make their long-awaited returns through the VFL.
Brown is yet to feature for his new club after undergoing surgery on his troublesome left knee in February, while Weideman has also been sidelined for around two months after suffering a stress fracture to his right femur in pre-season.
The club had not expected either to be fit for at least another fortnight, but both of their recoveries have progressed quicker than expected recently and could have them back in the senior fold imminently.
Both will take part in Casey's VFL practice match against Williamstown on Saturday and could press their case for an AFL return as soon as Melbourne's round five clash with Hawthorn on April 18.
"We're still missing a couple of tall forwards (Brown and Weideman) that are playing their first VFL game this weekend … both of them," Melbourne captain Max Gawn told radio station RSN on Tuesday.
"They'll have a nice little challenge to see which one we end up picking. We could pick both."
Brown was one of the Trade Period's most high-profile acquisitions last year, joining from North Melbourne in exchange for a swap of second and fourth-round draft picks following a successful 287-goal career for his former club.
The 200cm forward had been poached to provide support for the 23-year-old Weideman, who had made a promising start to his 44-game career and kicked a personal-best 19 goals last season.
Tom McDonald has deputised capably in their absence, kicking multiple goals in both of Melbourne's opening games against Fremantle and St Kilda, but has been earmarked to play a role higher up the field on a wing once Brown and Weideman return.
Gawn himself spent extended periods in attack during Sunday's victory over Greater Western Sydney, which saw Melbourne move to 3-0 on the season, with the captain kicking two goals to complement 24 disposals and 28 hitouts.