Clisby to debut for Demons

Caretaker coach Neil Craig takes Melbourne training earlier this week. Photo: Sebastian CostanzoMelbourne will introduce its sixth debutant on Saturday – defender Mitch Clisby – as it begins life under stand-in coach Neil Craig.

Clisby, a running backman who was added to the rookie list at the end of last year, will become the 38th player to wear Melbourne colours in the first 13 rounds when he runs onto the MCG against St Kilda.

Pacy midfielder Sam Blease, who struggled to win over sacked coach Mark Neeld and who has featured just four times this year, is also poised for a fresh chance in Craig’s first team as coach.

Newcomers Jimmy Toumpas, Dean Terlich and Matt Jones will continue their debut seasons and ruck prospect Jack Fitzpatrick is in the mix and likely to get plenty of opportunities in the second half of the year.

James Magner, who has played just two senior matches this season after an encouraging 2012, remains on the edge of selection, while Jack Viney is about a month away from playing his seventh game because of a toe injury.

The Demons do not have many other new names to consider in the run home – they have played the second highest number of players this season – with young midfielders Dom Barry, Rory Taggert and Josh Tynan, defender Troy Davis and rookies Nathan Stark and Tom Couch the only players yet to feature.

The 23-year-old Clisby grew up in Broken Hill, where he was a good childhood friend of injured Adelaide forward Taylor Walker, before moving to Adelaide four years ago after he missed out on being drafted.

Playing for North Adelaide, he improved enormously last year playing as a quick and skilful running defender, and impressing with an improved attitude and some greater confidence.

Chosen by Melbourne at No.19 in the rookie draft, Clisby has earned his chance by playing well for Melbourne’s VFL affiliate Casey in the first half of the year.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.