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Melbourne Football Club

Gawn’s review: the first half

WITH the Demons hitting the midway mark of the season, Melbourne Media sat down with Max Gawn to discuss how his side is tracking.

The ruckman shared his thoughts on the season’s main talking points to date.

On the season so far

Gawn: You get a bit of a sour taste after a loss, so you can take a negative view on the first half of the season following the game against Collingwood. You’ve got to look at it as we’re eight wins and four losses; we won six games in a row, we won away three times out of three and we had good results at Etihad.

The obvious one would be the big games that we failed to turn up in, especially the ANZAC Eve game against Richmond and the Queen’s Birthday game against Collingwood. Apart from that, it’s a reasonable start to the year, but we’ve got to keep going.

On getting six wins on the trot

Gawn: We keep coming back to the Richmond and Hawthorn games, as those were our last losses, up until Collingwood. From a midfield point of view, we got smashed in there. We reset and really gained some momentum in the midfield over the following weeks.

It’s almost the same thing now post-Collingwood. We’ll look at that as a benchmark game and go from there, and make sure that we don’t get down to that level again.

On the midfield’s structure over recent weeks

Gawn: In today’s game, the best teams are playing the game in their forward half, and to do that, you’ve got to win the midfield battle. The Doggies threw a lot of things at us, which nearly got us in that game, but in terms of Collingwood, they just beat us. They beat us around the ball with strong contested players, which was a bit disappointing from us.

It’s where it’s won and lost in today’s game, and Port have probably the best midfield going around, so it’s an exciting battle.

On this season’s debutants

Gawn: I wouldn’t just leave it at the debutants – I’d probably add the guys that haven’t debuted as well, with Harry Petty and Oskar Baker. They’ve been very impressive in their VFL footy, and Harry Petty being very close to playing.

Bayley Fritsch came in round one and has played superb. He had a little rest there at one point, but he’s been playing in different positions (wing, half forward, in the middle) which is really good.

Charlie Spargo has come in and brought a bit of energy into the forward line. As you see from teams like Richmond, Hawthorn and Collingwood, small half-forwards are quick and inject some energy, which seems to be the way to go. Charlie’s one of them.

On his own performance

Gawn: I’ve had games where I’ve gone away from what makes me a good player, which is disappointing – especially the Hawthorn game.

In terms of consistency, it’s what I wanted to do at the start of the year. It’s why I lost all that weight and why I trained so hard; to get into a good position in my own game and play some consistent footy.

I’ve got a challenging set of ruckmen over the next few weeks that are going to test me.

On the upcoming month

Gawn: I just see Patrick Ryder, Billy Longer and Aaron Sandilands, and then I have to go beyond that and look at the actual teams. The one we’re thinking about at the moment is this week. Whatever the result is there, we then turn our attention to St Kilda, then Fremantle, then the Doggies.

They’re all quality teams on their day. The Saints really gave as a run for our money earlier on in the year and we just managed to get them in the last quarter. Similar to the Doggies – they were in front of us in the last quarter and we pegged them back. And Fremantle have just gone and beaten Carlton by 60-odd points, so it’s an even competition this year, which makes it exciting.

Every week is going to be a good battle, but first and foremost: Port Adelaide.