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‘Massive call’: Hunt available as Demons face selection logjam

“We were a team that won on the weekend by 40 points in a qualifying final with no injuries. It’s a massive call to make a change. Will Nathan be able to stand up in a hot prelim final more than James Jordon if called on as sub? James Jordon has put in a great body of work, 23 weeks, that’s been a great body of work that definitely deserves his chance, and Jake Melksham did a great job … four weeks ago on Jeremy McGovern.

Jake Melksham.

Jake Melksham.Credit:Getty Images

“I don’t envy what Goody’s got to do, but there’s no sugar on this situation. There [are] five guys fighting for a spot in this side, and it keeps the other 22 guys who are in the team quite hungry, knowing that they’re one slip-up, one poor game from missing out on a prelim final.”

Having not contested a grand final for 21 years, the Demons return to the scene of their most recent preliminary final, a heavy loss to West Coast in which Melbourne were held goalless until after half-time. While Viney rejected the idea of that defeat having a steeling influence on him or the other remaining Demons from that match, he suggested that it was a reminder that opportunities don’t come around that often.

“I probably should say yes. But I haven’t really drawn on that experience too much. It does feel like a lifetime ago,” Viney said.

The Demons slumped to 17th the following season before finishing ninth last year and surging to the minor premiership in 2021.

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Meanwhile, on a day Cats midfielder Cam Guthrie confirmed a four-year contract extension, he said he was surprised by comments made by teammate Isaac Smith, who claimed Demons defenders Jake Lever and Steven May “had made us look like fools” in a stinging round 23 loss at GMHBA Stadium when the Cats squandered a 44-point lead.

Guthrie said he wasn’t aware of Smith’s response before being informed of it at a press conference but agreed “they are pretty strong comments”.

“I was surprised Isaac does feel that way. I think probably, in the end, it was just a quarter of footy that cost us,” he said.

“Personally, for me, reflecting on the game, those kind of comments I don’t know if I necessarily agree with, but it’s eyes forward now. They are quality players and they are going to give us a tough night. We definitely have some plans in place to address their influence and, hopefully, we can bypass them and put some scoreboard pressure on.”

The Cats have at least one selection call to make. Brandan Parfitt has been ruled out of the rest of the campaign with a hamstring tear and will have surgery later this week. Zach Guthrie, Shaun Higgins and Luke Dahlhaus are among the candidates to replace him.

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