Last season was quite a fruitful one for Melbourne’s Max Gawn, as the Dees big man solidified himself as one of the best ruckman in the competition.
With the banning of the third man up at ruck contests now coming into effect in 2017, Fox Footy analyst David King believes that rule change will allow for Gawn to dominate ruck battles even more and take another step in the right direction.
“If you look at him play, he’s a man who’s in complete control of his area,” King said on SEN.
“The rule changes will only assist him this season.
“I think he’s only played 50 or 60 games of AFL football, so he’s still learning.”
Gawn had a very impressive 2016 campaign, averaging 42.2 hitouts a game, and was named to the All-Australian side as well as finishing third in Melbourne’s best and fairest count.
The 25-year-old has been able to get make an impact up forward as well as in the ruck so far in the JLT Community Series, and King is excited at the prospect of Gawn becoming a star in this league.
“I love the use of him during the preseason, how he’s been able to get forward,” he said.
“He hasn’t been a big goal scorer in the past. I think he kicked (close to) 20 goals last season. He’s ready for a huge year.
“I think he understands what’s required and I guess those young mannerisms of 18-months ago are gone. He’s a man now and I think he’s ready to take control of the game.”
“I think Simon Goodwin has been an innovator over the last couple of seasons,” King said.
“He finally gets full control. We’ve been really excited by what we’ve seen in the first couple of weeks of the JLT and I just think the growth is going to be enormous for this young group.
“They’ve been told they can seriously play, they’ve been told they need to work hard. They’ve got a club now that’s set some pretty high standards.
“I think it will be a really positive year for them.”