Lever hurt as Demons unveil Gawn-Grundy combination

Jake Lever's ankle injury was the one setback for Melbourne as they overwhelmed St Kilda by 59 points in their AFL match practice.

Lever went off before halftime on Friday at the Saints' Moorabbin headquarters and did not reappear, but the initial word is that his injury is not serious.

The clear highlight for Melbourne in the 16.9 (105) to 6.10 (46) win was the debut of ruck combination Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy.

While it is a work in progress, the Demons captain and the boom recruit from Collingwood worked well together and will be a handful for opposition midfields and defenders.

Melbourne experimented with resting them in attack or on the bench.

Former Western Bulldogs player Lachie Hunter, another key trade recruit, also impressed on a wing, while forward Kysaiah Pickett spent time in the midfield.

With Pickett spending more time on the ball, Christian Petracca spent more time forward and kicked three goals, while Clayton Oliver was prolific through the midfield.

After his injury-marred 2022 season, Melbourne forward Tom McDonald looked in solid form.

No.10 draft pick Mattaes Philippou impressed for the Saints, kicking two goals, and it will be a surprise if he does not debut in round one.

But the return of coach Ross Lyon started badly.

After St Kilda pulled to within 26 points early in the last of four terms, Melbourne went up a gear and the 2021 premiers torched them.

After four terms, most of the AFL players ended their runs and the two teams' VFL players took over.