Demons hope for spark from Austin - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Demons hope for spark from Austin

20/05/2010 06:55:03 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne coach Dean Bailey hopes livewire indigenous forward Austin Wonaeamirri can help spark the Demons' struggling attack as he returns from a 21-month AFL absence.

The 21-year-old, who has built form through the VFL after overcoming a series of knee and hamstring injuries, has not played an AFL match since his debut 2008 season, when he kicked 24 goals in 18 games.

He is among five inclusions for Saturday night's clash with Port Adelaide in Darwin - where he played junior football - his return coinciding with the AFL's indigenous round.

Fellow forwards Cale Morton and Brad Miller are also among the inclusions, Morton playing his first match since injuring his knee in the pre-season.

Bailey said the unsettled nature of Melbourne's attack, still missing injured pair Ricky Petterd and Liam Jurrah, had been a concern.

But he was hoping Wonaeamirri could add some spark, which he acknowledged the forward line needed.

"I think we do, we probably need some more pressure in our forward line and that's probably been evident the last couple of weeks," Bailey said of a combined return of 15 goals in the past two rounds.

"Our forward line's probably the area we've had the most changes ... we'd like to think from this week onwards or at least looking forward we can try to keep consistent personnel in there.

"But if you look at the game, the forward pressure is super-important ... we certainly need to get back to that."

Bailey was confident that if the Demons could lift their defensive pressure, particularly in attack, and their tackling intensity, the goals would come.

He also said the club had been experimenting with the use of gloves ahead of what will be their first premiership season match in Darwin.

With humidity expected to be about 80 per cent, he predicted players would have to work out how to handle a ball that will be like a "cake of soap".

"We've trialled a couple of things during the week about players wearing a glove, obviously wristbands as well, to try to prevent the sweat running all the way down your arms to your hands," Bailey said.

He said the Power might have a small advantage given they have played numerous previous matches in Darwin.

Cameron Bruce (hamstring), Matthew Bate (ankle) and Matthew Warnock (soreness) will all miss the game from injuries sustained in last round's disappointing loss to West Coast.

Bailey was hopeful Bruce and Bate would be ready to return for the following round's clash with Carlton.

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