Melbourne’s AFL stocks continue to rise with key forward Sam Weideman stepping in seamlessly to fill the void of premiership star Ben Brown.
Weideman booted a career-best 4.3 in his first game since round-13 last year in the Demons’ 29-point victory over Essendon at the MCG on Friday night.
Brown was a late out after being forced into isolation just hours before the round-three clash.
His arrival at Melbourne during the 2020 trade period has created a squeeze in the Demons’ forward line.
Weideman’s irresistible return has created a selection headache for Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin.
The Demons have been hesitant to play Brown, Weideman and fellow forward Tom McDonald in the same team.
Despite missing the Demons’ drought-breaking premiership last year, Weideman turned down offers from rival clubs to remain at Melbourne.
“(Weideman’s) handled it (being left out of the team) incredibly well,” Goodwin said.
“He has been really open and honest about himself in what he heeds to improve in his game.
“He went to work at training over the summer and he’s been ready to go for a while.
“The opportunity presented tonight and I think you saw Sam at his best.
“He looked really dominant in the air and gave us a great focal point without Browny and I’m really proud of him.
“Clearly, he’s putting an enormous amount of pressure on (Brown) in terms of selection, which is healthy.
“We’ve got Jake Melksham, Toby Bedford, Luke Dunstan who are really pushing hard for selection.
“You can develop at VFL level and come back a better player.”
Melbourne have just six days before their round-four match, a trip to face winless Port Adelaide on Thursday night.
Brown should come out of isolation to take on the Power at the Adelaide Oval, but will not have trained with the team all week.
Melbourne are now on a 10-game winning streak – the third longest in the Demons’ long history.
If they are able to account for Port, it will match the 11-game streak they put together from the end of 2020 to round nine last year.