MELBOURNE will need to bring its best footy this Saturday night at the ‘G as it prepares to face top-four side Essendon.

Simon Goodwin joined media on Wednesday morning to discuss the Bombers' challenge and selection opportunities for Max Gawn's replacement. 


Charlie Spargo sidelined for season

“It’s shattering obviously for us and for Charlie,” Goodwin said.

“He’s really struggled this year with his Achilles and we tried multiple things to get it right and it’s come to a point where surgery is the best option that's left for us.

“We’ve missed him a lot, he's a really important person to us here at the footy club.

“He provides the team with a certain skill set that we certainly miss, and it's devastating for Charlie, but we just want him to get healthy, get well and make sure he's back playing his best footy with his smiling face around the club again.”

Max Gawn return timeline

“[One week] is ambitious. We're certainly of the mindset that it's probably going to be more like two or three," Goodwin said. 

"Max is Max, he is the ultimate professional, and his mindset is always around 'how can I do my very best and get myself back the quickest, in the best shape?' That mindset puts him in a great position to be able to do that.

"We're thinking it's more likely two or three, we'll rely on our doctors and medical team to make the best decision in that. But the mindset to get healthy really quickly for Max is what we love about him.

"That's why he's a leader of our footy club, because that's how he lives every day, to maximise his time and get the best out of himself.”

Ruck replacement

“He’s a tough man to replace, there's no question about that, but it's like anything that we've been able to deal with in recent times, whether it be Angus Brayshaw, Christian Petracca, you always look at what your opportunities are in this space,” Goodwin said.

“For us, with Max being out, it gives us the chance to do that and maybe some personnel that's different, but also some method, that sits within that role.

“So, we'll look at all that. We're still working through some of that at this stage of the week of what that might look like.

“It presents us with an opportunity and one that we'll look at and try and get better as a team again.

“[Tom Fullarton] in the certainly in the mix, as part of those discussions, as I said, we'll look at personnel, Tom's within that, Will Verrall’s in that, and we'll also look at what some of that method within the ruck role provides for us."

Kysaiah Pickett’s 100th

“We’ve been fortunate to have him for 100 games of footy so far in his career, where he's just excelled and grown and continues to get better,” Goodwin said.

“He’s playing a little bit more midfield time and we're trying to maximise his ability for us both through the middle of the ground, but also forward of centre.

“So, he's in some really good form at the moment, and he's worked really hard to get himself into the position that he is at the moment in the season, and we feel we're going to get the best footy from him going forward for the rest of the year.”

Saturday night battle  

“We're hoping for a really big crowd, it's obviously a massive opportunity against a team that's in some really strong form,” Goodwin said.

“You only have to watch that game against Collingwood last week to see the type of team that they are, and they’re certainly becoming a really dominant team in the AFL.

“So, we know the challenge. It's a big game for us. We want to get as many of our supporters there to cheer us on in what is shaping up as a really important game as a lot of them are for teams moving forward.”

Grab your tickets to Saturday's game here