Dees’ Hibberd, Melksham up for AFL reunion

Former Essendon defender Michael Hibberd is in line to play for Melbourne for the first time after serving a doping ban last year.


The 27-year-old has recovered well from a minor knee complaint and will be considered by the Demons for selection in Saturday’s AFL pre-season clash against Carlton.

Hibberd is likely to line up alongside close mate Jake Melksham, who had his first run for the Demons during their pre-season opener against the Western Bulldogs.

The pair were among 34 past and present Bombers players banned for all of last season over the club’s supplements saga.

Defensive lynchpin Tom McDonald says the pair will add versatility and an X-factor to the Demons’ back six.

“They’re both really good competitors,” McDonald said.

“They’re both strong in the air and strong on ground level. They’re both very athletic and gifted players in that regard, both quick and powerful.

“I think their ability to go tall and small will really help us for the way we want to play. We want to be really versatile so if I need to play on a small player, I can do it, and if ‘Hibbo’ needs to play on a key forward, he can do it as well.

“I think they’re both pretty important in that regard.”

The younger of the pair at 25, Melksham will nonetheless have to fight for a spot in an increasingly deep Melbourne side.

The 114-game midfielder, who was traded to Melbourne at the end of 2015, is confident he’ll be able to fight his way into Melbourne’s side despite their wealth of young talent.

He and Hibberd have been reunited with new Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin, who previously served as an assistant at Essendon.

The Demons will start their season proper against St Kilda on March 25.