Demons' focus solely on Bombers AFL clash

Melbourne must beat Essendon and hope other round-18 results go their way to book a finals berth.
Melbourne must beat Essendon and hope other round-18 results go their way to book a finals berth.

Part of Melbourne's AFL finals destiny is out of their own hands but coach Simon Goodwin says the Demons will focus solely on what they can control - Saturday's clash with Essendon at Metricon Stadium.

Melbourne sit ninth on 32 points, behind St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs, who are on 36 points, but ahead of GWS (32 points) on percentage.

In order to make finals, the Demons must beat Essendon and also need either the Giants to beat St Kilda and dent their percentage on Friday night - or Fremantle to upset the Bulldogs on Sunday.

"Clearly there's a few results that are obviously of interest to us, but that's stuff that we can't control," Goodwin told reporters on Friday.

"We can only really look at how we're going to perform tomorrow against the Bombers and that's the number one thing.

"That's the number one thing that we've been focusing on for a little while - what we can control and clearly some of our destiny's out of our hands but a lot of it is within our hands as well."

Defender Michael Hibberd returns from an ankle injury, with Neville Jetta dropped.

Goodwin said the Demons needed to defend strongly against Essendon while also taking full advantage of their own strengths through the midfield.

The game will be John Worsfold's 105th and final game as Essendon coach, with Ben Rutten to take over on a full-time basis from next season.

"All I've ever asked for any player ... is to prepare the best you can and go out and play with your teammates, crack in and do your best," Worsfold said.

"There's always things that are going to challenge your ability to do that, starting with the opposition.

"But just go out and enjoy it, that's my (message).

"It's a tough game and when I came to Essendon it was hard to see anything that was enjoyable about the game, but we've built that back."

The Bombers welcome back Michael Hurley and Jayden Laverde from injuries, while Mason Redman has been recalled.

Andrew Phillips, Jacob Townsend and Mitch Hibberd were omitted.

Australian Associated Press