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Seventh hell: Demons cut deep in search of breakthrough victory

Seeking to claim their first victory in more than 11 months, Melbourne have dropped almost a third of their team that lost to West Coast in round one.

The Demons have cut a whopping seven players for Saturday’s date with Carlton at the MCG. Alex Neal-Bullen, Charlie Spargo, Jay Lockhart, Michael Hibberd, Mitch Brown, Oscar McDonald and Toby Bedford have all paid the price for their side’s first-up showing way back in March.

As flagged earlier in the week, Harley Bennell will make his debut for the club after previous stints with Gold Coast and Fremantle, while draftees Luke Jackson and Trent Rivers are also named to make their respective AFL debuts. Jayden Hunt, Joel Smith, Christian Salem and former captain Nathan Jones also return for the Dees, who haven’t tasted victory since July 7 last year when they narrowly beat the Blues.

A despondent Max Gawn looks on after the Demons' round one loss.

A despondent Max Gawn looks on after the Demons’ round one loss. Credit:AAP

As expected, Carlton have named Eddie Betts for what will be his comeback match for the Blues, while Harry McKay also makes a long-awaited return. Big man Marc Pittonet has been selected for his Carlton debut after an off-season trade from Hawthorn. The ruckman replaces injured veteran Matthew Kreuzer. Carlton have also lost Zac Fisher to an ankle issue and dropped former No. 3 draft pick Paddy Dow.

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