Demons ruckman to ink one-year deal

FLIPDEVELOPING ruckman Lachie Filipovic is set to be retained on Melbourne’s rookie list for next year as he bids to put an injury-ravaged first season behind him.

The 200cm beanpole was the only remaining uncontracted Demon, after fellow rookie Corey Maynard and second-year big man Mitch King re-signed this week.

AFL.com.au understands Filipovic has agreed to terms on a new one-year contract, joining All Australian Max Gawn and King as Melbourne’s ruckmen, on top of makeshift option Cam Pedersen.

The Demons delisted veteran big man Jake Spencer in mid-September, with Liam Hulett, Ben Kennedy, Jack Trengove and Mitch White also departing. Retired defender Heritier Lumumba officially comes off the list as well.

Gawn worked closely with Filipovic while the 19-year-old was still at the Sandringham Dragons – and before that at local club Ormond – and urged Melbourne’s national recruiting manager Jason Taylor to draft him.

Filipovic represented Vic Metro, was the 2016 TAC Cup Team of the Year ruckman and eventually became the Demons’ first NAB AFL Rookie Draft selection and eighth overall.

He remains a project, given he has played the sport for barely three years after focusing on soccer and basketball before that. Filipovic’s father Nick played soccer for NSL club Melbourne Knights.

Filipovic played only five games in the VFL Development League in 2017, suffering a season-ending hip injury in the last of them.