It was panic in the streets of Melbourne recently, when star Demons ruck Max Gawn missed training.
Not really. Everyone knows Victorians never panic. It was more a case of mild concern tempered with proper Victorian reserve.
Gawn says, no worries, he will be on the ground of Optus Stadium for Saturday’s game with the West Coast Eagles.
Three players in all sat out a light run on Monday, Gawn, Neville Jetta and Alex Neal-Bullen.
“Sometimes you do the fluffy session and sometimes you don’t; I didn’t do it and it seemed to be the one where every camera was down there, which is the preliminary final and it’s Gosch’s Paddock (in the open),” Gawn said to reporters.
The Dees would only reveal that Gawn did his work indoors, away from the scrutiny of the cameras.
Gawn was a constant presence for the Demons in the home-and-away season of the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership competition and he participated in both finals. He has been spotty at time in the past. Last season he made 13 appearances, as he did in 2015 and 2013. Maybe 13 is his lucky number.
If the Dees can win Saturday, Gawn will mark his 100th AFL game in the Grand Final.
This season, Gawn has had only a minor calf complaint that caused him to miss some training, but no game time.
Demons other than the aforementioned three to be limited in training in the lead up to the preliminary final at Optus Stadium included Captain Jack Viney, who returned from a serious foot injury to play finals, so he was limited to some light running.
Simon Goodwin can go into the game as a Demons coach that has no missing or suspended players on his list.
The preliminary will be quite different from the first two rounds for Melbourne. At best, they will have 3,000 supporters on hand at Optus Stadium, but they had a similar situation in Round 22 and managed to beat West Coast, so while MCG it is not, Melbourne can win in Perth.