The Demons acquired Preuss from North Melbourne at the end of 2018, but he would make just 10 senior appearances in the red and blue over three seasons serving as Gawn’s deputy.
Speaking on SEN Afternoons, Gawn had faith that Preuss would flourish with greater opportunities.
“A lot of people questioned his decision to come to Melbourne, but from the position he was in he wanted the change and there was talk about us potentially being able to play two rucks, but the game evolved in that pre-season,” Gawn told SEN Afternoons.
“Braydon pushed me to my limit, I pushed him to his limit and he is ready.
“That game against GWS I know exactly what I’m up for.
“It’s just a slow apprenticeship for him really. He’s got to 25 and he’s ready to go.
“I’m sure he would have wanted to knock out 100 games before he was 25, but he’s ready to go now and he’ll probably be up there in the top echelon of rucks this next two or three years.
“When he did play he held his own. In one of the games I was injured this year, I think it was against the Bulldogs, he got our trademark player and then was left out the next week and that was one of the first times that’s happened.
“I felt bad personally that I was taking his spot, but that’s what comes when there’s only one spot in the team for a ruck.”
Gawn added that the addition of last year’s Pick 3 Luke Jackson may have contributed to Preuss’ decision to leave Melbourne.
“I think my time is going to come to an end soon because Luke Jackson, I’m telling you, this kid is talented,” the multiple All-Australian said.
“I’m pushing for him to become a wingman at the moment or a midfielder or a forward rather than a ruck, but we’ve definitely got a super talented kid, which probably adds to Preuss’ decision.
“We’ve got this 19-year-old kid who could be anything, I’m not going to put too much pressure on him, but he is genuinely a really good player and those spots in the side for Preuss could be taken by Jackson.”
Preuss has played 18 AFL matches since being drafted by the Kangaroos with Pick 15 in the 2015 Rookie Draft.