Out-of-favour Melbourne small forward Jeff Garlett still has work to do to force his way back into the senior AFL side, according to Demons coach Simon Goodwin.
The 29-year-old was the Demons' leading goal-kicker last season - 16 clear of Christian Petracca. But he has again been left out of their line-up to face Carlton on Sunday afternoon at the MCG.
Dropped after struggling in the Demons' round-five loss to Richmond, Garlett has been on the outer, with Goodwin offering no timeline for his return.
Garlett kicked one goal in VFL side Casey's impressive last-round win over the Box Hill Hawks and showed some spark around the field.
But it wasn't enough to convince his coach.
"I thought his game last week was relatively strong and he's heading in the right direction in his form and training," Goodwin said.
"He's an important player but he'll get his go when his form is up to speed."
Goodwin was cagey about exactly what Garlett needed to improve before earning a recall.
"There's no doubt he's an important person in our footy club of high, high talent, so there's some things in his game that we're working on and there's some things that's we're looking for him to bring to the table.
"When he does those, he will be back in the team."
Melbourne came from behind in both 2017 matches against the Blues, with little separating the pumped-up teams on both occasions.
With Carlton getting their first win of the season last round, Goodwin predicted another tight affair.
"Clearly there's been some intensity - in that first game last year, we were probably undisciplined in the way we went about our footy and that brought a bit of heat and spice to the contest," he said.
"We want to be known as a contested-ball team and so we've certainly tempered how we play but, at the same time, they're fierce contests. You know what you're going to get."
Australian Associated Press