STAR ruck Max Gawn has likened his "apprentice" Luke Jackson to a young Brodie Grundy ahead of Melbourne's Queens Birthday clash with Collingwood.
Gawn is hopeful that Grundy will recover from a neck injury for the annual Monday holiday match, which has been relocated from the MCG to the SCG due to Melbourne's COVID-19 lockdown.
"I'd love Brodie to play - we've had some great match-ups," Gawn said on Tuesday.
"I love playing the best and he's certainly up there.
"I think we're six or seven games into our battle and we've both got little apprentices with Darcy Cameron and Luke Jackson both playing a fair bit of ruck time so it's a bit different to our early ruck battles."
The Melbourne captain said few players had the same early impact as Jackson, naming Grundy as being from the same mould.
"I don't know many 19-year-old rucks who have had as much of an impact - probably Brodie Grundy, he came on to the scene pretty quickly," Gawn said.
"I couldn't imagine myself playing that sort of football when I was his age.
"He's got a long way to go, but you can see what he brings, that athleticism, that follow-up, being able to get the ball going forward for us."
In his second season Jackson has played every game except for one and Gawn said they divided their time in the ruck organically rather than by a set plan.
"It's not really written down; you've got to get a read on the game," Gawn said.
"To be honest, Luke would probably be a really good match-up at times for Brodie.
"Sometimes I am cooked and I need him in there and vice versa so we have a bit more flexibility rather than a strict time.
Despite the Demons sitting pretty at the top of the ladder with just one loss and the Magpies languishing in 16th, Gawn is predicting a tight contest.
"You can't take 11 and one into every game, you've got to go in with a new mindset and that's what we will for Collingwood," he said.
"There's an unrest about every game that we've got to go out and be the hunters because you never know when the competition can flip on its head so we've got to make sure we're on our game at all times."