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Melbourne Football Club

Maximum training: He 'was out there early'

I was actually out there a little bit early, you guys didn't get there in time
Max Gawn

IF THE cameras aren't there to capture Max Gawn training by himself at Gosch's Paddock did it actually happen?

That's the question the All Australian ruckman has for the media after it was reported he was absent from Monday's training session – sparking fears that he is carrying an injury leading into Saturday's preliminary final against West Coast in Perth.

Technically Gawn missed the organised one-hour session with teammates Neville Jetta and Alex Neal-Bullen, as reported, but as he points out it doesn't mean he did not train.

"I was actually out there a little bit early, you guys didn't get there in time," Gawn told

"I've missed training twice this year and both times it's been heavily publicised.

"I had a feeling this might have been another one of them. I actually wore my Jesse Hogan top (a T-shirt with Hogan's face on it) out there as well, to try to give him some publicity and nobody was out there.

"Don't worry I had a strong discussion with the fitness group about doing the session but it was just a little chat that I should maybe miss this one and train on Wednesday."

Gawn was restricted to walking laps at a training session ahead of the Demons' round 21 clash against Sydney, with similar fears arising that he would miss that game through injury.

The ruckman managed to play against the Swans but conceded he had been carrying a significant cork in his calf at the time which limited his impact.

Gawn is adamant the calf injury he carried late in the season is not related to why he missed Monday's session.

"I was definitely carrying a calf injury going into the Sydney game and I was lying to every single media person out there and putting on a brave face," Gawn said.

"You can't tell the Sydney guys that I've got a corked calf going into a game and I didn't play that well that day either.

"This one's got nothing to do with that. This is just monitoring loads and if you come down on Wednesday and bring the camera I think you'll see that I'm fine."

With Melbourne getting ready for its first preliminary final appearance since 2000, Gawn said he can't help but think of the role club icons such as Jim Stynes, Dean Bailey and Neale Daniher played in the club's evolution from also ran to premiership contender.

Stynes, in particular, holds a special place in Gawn's heart with the former Melbourne chairman taking a special interest in the trajectory of Gawn's career.

Gawn took over Stynes' famous No.11 jumper for the 2015 season after wearing No.37 (also the number Stynes wore in his first year in 1987) and has often spoken about adopting the late great Stynes' motto of 'whatever it takes' which characterised his public cancer battle.

"I've always thought I've carried his legacy," Gawn said of Stynes.

"I wear the No.11 and I have about two minutes before every game where I sit down and look at my jumper and a couple of little quotes pop up in my head from Jimmy.

"It makes footy feel easier when you're thinking about Jimmy when you're about to go out there."