Dees star Viney backs AFL premiership medal push

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Melbourne midfielder Jack Viney has thrown his weight behind calls for the AFL to award premiership medals to players of the winning club who miss out on the Grand Final.

The suggestion has been a talking point during the extended build-up to this year's Grand Final, but won't be implemented for the September 25 decider unless the league makes a late decision to break with tradition.

Only players who are part of the winning team on grand final day -- not the entire playing squad -- have received medals in the past.

However, Viney said he would support a move that would theoretically see the likes of retiring Demon Nathan Jones or injured Western Bulldogs forward Josh Bruce rewarded for their efforts throughout the year if their team is victorious.

"One of the biggest strengths of our team this year has been the performance of the whole (playing) list," Viney told ABC Sport on Sunday.

"We've had a healthy list. Our VFL side and the guys who haven't been able to play in the ones have performed exceptionally (well).

"It's pushed and driven us to be even better and continue to perform.

"A big reason why we've had the season that we've had is the depth and performance of the whole list."

Several Melbourne and Bulldogs players face the prospect of Grand Final selection heartbreak in coming days as both clubs face tough calls on their teams for the Optus Stadium contest.

Livewire forward Cody Weightman will return from concussion for the Bulldogs, who are also hopeful of recalling key defender Alex Keath from a hamstring injury.

Keath's return would put pressure on Zaine Cordy, while Jason Johannisen and preliminary final medical substitute Anthony Scott are in the frame to make way for Weightman.

Laitham Vandermeer is also battling a hamstring issue.

Steven May (hamstring) and Charlie Spargo (ankle) are expected to be fit to play for Melbourne, while defender Joel Smith is in a race against time.

Smith hurt a hamstring at training and was replaced for the preliminary final by Michael Hibberd, who performed well against Geelong and could consider himself unlucky to be pushed out.

Former captain Jones left the Demons' base in Perth soon after the preliminary final to return home to be at the birth of his twins and announced his retirement days later.

The 302-game champion was ever-present during some dark times for Melbourne, including 11 consecutive seasons without finals.

"He's been such a legend of this footy club for such a long time and had to make a really tough decision, so we want to be giving it our all on Saturday," Viney said.

"It's a shame he's not going to be here with us."

Jones played the first seven games of the 2021 season before being squeezed out of Melbourne's best team.

The 33-year-old featured just once -- as the unused medical substitute in round 15 -- after round seven.