Goodwin, three Demons out of AFL clash

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Three Melbourne players, including Rising Star winner Luke Jackson, have joined coach Simon Goodwin in being unavailable for the Demons' round-seven AFL game due to COVID-19.

Goodwin tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday and will be replaced by senior assistant Adem Yze for this Saturday's clash with Hawthorn.

Ace ruckman Jackson, small forward Kysaiah Pickett and Tom Sparrow have also been struck down by COVID and entered health and safety protocols.

The Demons are hoping the outbreak has been limited to Goodwin and those three players but small forward Toby Bedford posted a photo of Jackson saying "stuck with you".

Undefeated Melbourne will name their team on Thursday for the game against the Hawks at the MCG.

Yze spent six years as an assistant at Hawthorn under Alastair Clarkson, before switching to Melbourne - the club he played 271 games for - before the 2021 season.

"(Goodwin's) in good spirits, he's just tested positive (on Wednesday)," Yze said.

"We've had a couple of discussions already this morning to make sure that the program stays the same.

"It won't be just myself, obviously everyone's got to step up with our senior coach out of our program.

"We'll have different staff members doing different roles and I'll just be the face of it for this week so I feel comfortable in doing it.

"It's not any more significant than we just need to get out there and play well and win a game of footy.

"It's just ironic it's against the Hawks.

"We've got a plan in place and that will evolve over the next couple of days.

"I'll coach from the box on game day but then leading into the game I'll still be a midfield coach."

Stand-in coaches have an unbeaten 5-0 record this season, with Fremantle's Jaymie Graham (twice), Carlton's Ash Hansen, Essendon's Blake Caracella and St Kilda's Brendon Lade all victorious when their head coaches were forced into isolation.

Yze will be the third coach to fill-in against a former club in 2022, with Graham leading the Dockers to victory over West Coast and Hansen's Blues edging the Western Bulldogs.

Demons premiership stars Jake Lever and Jack Viney will return against the Hawks after sitting out the win over Richmond last Sunday night due to the virus.

Veteran defender Michael Hibberd has struggled with a calf issue all season but will make his comeback through the VFL this weekend.

The Demons are 6-0 and have put together a 13-game winning streak dating back to round 20 last year.

"Kicking 22 points last week is a reason to know we're not playing our best footy," Yze said.

"We want to win each week, but we want to play our brand each week as well and we haven't done that on a consistent basis at all this year.

"There's been games where we've been below par so each week we go out with a plan to beat the opposition but we also go with a plan to play our way."

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