Demons' Weideman gets his AFL chance

Sam Weideman is back in Melbourne's AFL line-up for the first time this season.
Sam Weideman is back in Melbourne's AFL line-up for the first time this season.

Melbourne supporters will finally get their first look at a Ben Brown-Sam Weideman forward line in the AFL.

Young ruck-forward Luke Jackson's finger injury has opened the door for Weideman to play his first AFL game in 2021 when the Demons face Carlton at the MCG on Sunday.

After kicking 19 goals in 2020 and showing serious development, the 23-year-old suffered stress fractures in his leg that delayed his start to this season.

With Melbourne (8-0) flying during their best start to a campaign since 1965, coach Simon Goodwin has been hesitant to tinker with his dominant team.

Goodwin on Thursday confirmed Weideman will now pair up with former North Melbourne forward Brown in the senior side, after having already played together in the VFL.

"(Weideman's) ready to play AFL footy and we're excited by that," Goodwin said.

"He gets his opportunity and we're looking forward to seeing how he goes.

"He's kicked 14 goals in three weeks so he's in really strong form but what's been keeping him out is the form in the team.

"We know he's a quality player and he's a big part of our group."

Melbourne suddenly have a range of attacking weapons, with Tom McDonald rediscovering his career-best form of 2018 when the Demons last played finals.

In a wet scrap at the MCG last Saturday night, Brown and McDonald combined for seven of Melbourne's 10 goals in a nine-point victory over Sydney.

It was just Brown's second game for the Demons after injuries disrupted his pre-season after arriving via a trade from the Kangaroos.

That is not to mention Bailey Fritsch, who again leads Melbourne's goal-kicking (18.9) this year after winning it in 2020.

Goodwin faces a difficult balancing act with Weideman, who is out-of-contract at year's end and is sure to attract offers from rival clubs.

"He is a mature kid. We have had some good conversations. They have been around his role within our club," Goodwin said.

"He is a really important player for us and he knows he missed the opportunities through injury. He has worked really hard in rehab."

Australian Associated Press