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Rd 9: All The Goals

12:07pm  May 22, 2017

Rd 9: Mitch Hannan post-match

7:29pm  May 21, 2017

Rd 9: Simon Goodwin post-match

7:14pm  May 21, 2017

Gawn aims for round 12 return

Marc McGowan  May 18, 2017 2:47 PM

I've had a pretty good week on the track (and I am) probably about four weeks away at the moment

MELBOURNE'S ruck woes may be solved sooner than expected, with last year's All Australian ruckman Max Gawn revealing he is on track for an early return. 

Gawn required surgery after suffering a serious hamstring issue in the Demons' 29-point round-three loss to Geelong early last month. 

The 25-year-old's absence was exacerbated when back-up big man Jake Spencer (shoulder) went down only a fortnight later. 

Gawn was initially expected to be out for 12 weeks and Melbourne's injury list still has him six weeks off, but he is optimistic about a quicker recovery. 

"I've had a pretty good week on the track (and I am) probably about four weeks away at the moment," Gawn said on Triple M.

"I'm actually looking good for the Collingwood game (in round 12) or the Bulldogs game (in round 13)." 

Those return dates would mean Gawn missed only seven or eight matches, with the Demons having the bye in round 11. 

Melbourne's makeshift ruck combination now involves 193cm forward Cameron Pedersen, plus Jack Watts (196cm), Tom McDonald (194cm) and Sam Frost (194cm) at different stages.

The Demons have consistently – and heavily – lost the hit-out count without Gawn and Spencer, with Adelaide ruckman Sam Jacobs amassing 74 against them on Saturday night. 

But that didn't stop Simon Goodwin's men winning the clearances 49-38, including 18-6 in the centre, leading to a 41-point victory over the Crows at Adelaide Oval. 

Another challenge awaits Melbourne on Sunday in the form of North Melbourne's All Australian ruckman Todd Goldstein. 

The Kangaroos have won 15 straight contests over the Demons.

"We have in the past come out and won a game out of the hat, but the next few weeks (after it) seems to be our problem," Gawn said. 

"So we're focusing straightaway on North Melbourne, who we haven't beaten for about nine years." 

Gawn was also confident teammate Jesse Hogan, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer last week, would make a full recovery after a successful operation on Tuesday. 

"It's a bit of a whirlwind for us as well, as much as it as for him," he said of Hogan. 

"We got told Friday morning and the initial response was we were all quite sad for him and scared. Whenever that word cancer is thrown around, it can get quite scary. 

"But obviously it was a success – they say it's one of those good cancers to have – and I think he's home already from hospital and he seems like he's in good spirits."