"He's a tough man to replace."

That's what Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said of his captain Max Gawn, who is out with a chip to the base of his right fibula.

The Demons will need to look deep into their bread basket to find a replacement for the six-time All-Australian, with a potential debutant on offer.

"But it's like anything that we've been able to deal with in recent times, whether it be Angus Brayshaw (retired) or Christian Petracca (injured), and you always look at your opportunities in this space," Goodwin said.

"For us, with Max being out, it gives us an opportunity to look at not only some personnel that's different but also some method that sits within that role for us.

"We'll look at all that. We're still working through some of that at this stage of the week and what that might look like."

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Will Verrall and Tom Fullarton have been flagged as potential options to tackle Sam Draper.

Goodwin said the pair are both in the mix for Saturday's clash with the Bombers as the club looks to get back inside the top eight.

Verrall joined the Demons through the 2022 AFL Rookie Draft with Pick 14 and has been under the guidance of Gawn and previously Brodie Grundy.

The South Australian has impressed in the VFL but has failed to make the leap to the elite level given his superior's availability.


Similar for Fullarton, who crossed from Brisbane at the end of 2023.

The former Lion featured in 19 games over the past five seasons and was seeking more opportunity when he departed the Sunshine State.

A left-field option could be Jacob van Rooyen, who was utilised in the ruck role once Gawn was subbed out during the Eagles victory.

However, that could be robbing Peter to pay Paul given van Rooyen's current form as a key forward.

Ben Brown (knee) and Harrison Petty (hamstring) could also help with the ruck duties as they push to return from injury.

The speculation around selection comes as forgotten small forward Charlie Spargo has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Charlie Spargo during Melbourne's open training session at Gosch's Paddock, Melbourne in 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes/Zero Digital Sports)

Spargo - who joins fellow premiership teammate Christian Petracca in the stands - played in Opening Round against Sydney before an ongoing achilles issue struck him down.

"It's shattering for us and for Charlie," Goodwin said.

"He's really struggled with his Achilles this year and we've tried multiple things to get it right, and it's come to a point where surgery is the best option left for us."