Star ruckman Max Gawn’s 100-game milestone is one he won’t be forgetting. The nightmare game saw him bumped, shoved and infuriated by his opposition in Melbourne’s 26-point loss to Port Adelaide on Saturday afternoon.
Describing it as one of the best wins of his career, Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley stated Saturday’s tactic to put a stop to Gawn was decided as a group. Hinkley told reporters “Max Gawn is a really good player, we have to wear him down. It takes two people to do that sometimes.”
Port Adelaide ruckman Paddy Ryder, and new recruit Scott Lycett undertook the task to shutdown All Australian ruckman Max Gawn. The message was sent throughout the ground and soon every Port Adelaide player was letting Gawn know that they were there.
“It was a buffeting from the start of the game to the end” former club captain Garry Lyon told SEN Breakfast.
“The moment just before half-time, Max failed a test.
“There was a ball to be won, there was Paddy Ryder coming hard at him, Max was coming the other way, and Max went around him and just stuck an arm out.
“Port Adelaide kicked a goal and Robbie Gray just turned and went straight at him. From that moment on, I just thought (Melbourne) was cooked.
“He’s one of your spiritual leaders, and he failed the test and he’s passed all of his tests in the last two years so how he bounces back next week is going to be really interesting.”
According to Port Adelaide assistant coach Michael Voss, a majority of time at training was dedicated on how to lock down and limit Gawn’s influence on the game.
After averaging 44.8 hit outs per game in the 2018 season, Gawn was held to only 21 hit outs and 13 disposals in the Round 1 clash against Port Adelaide.
Former St Kilda Captain, Nick Riewoldt applauded Port Adelaide’s efforts in going after Gawn.
“They went after Melbourne’s best player and they continued to do it for four quarters. He was a team target,” Riewoldt said.
It will be a test for Gawn to prepare and bounce back next week.
Melbourne will face Geelong Cats Saturday, March 30th at GMHBA Stadium in Round 2.