The Giants had no answer for Max Gawn. Picture: Michael Klein
The Giants had no answer for Max Gawn. Picture: Michael Klein

Big Max Giant in AFL finals dress rehearsal

Max Gawn is made for finals.

Big Maxy's dress rehearsal at the MCG yesterday showed just how massive an obstacle the Brownlow Medal hope is going to be for Geelong in two weeks' time.

Gawn presents as the key to Melbourne's flag hopes and having secured a home final, important too will be the MCG crowd - the members was full yesterday, in crowd and voice.

In the ultimate home and away game - a win and you play your first final at home, lose and you're away - Gawn ignited his side with a classic second quarter where he had nine touches, two marks, 13 hit outs and a clearance.

His presence down back stalled the Giants in that second term and it sparked the Demons' attack.

Gawn then triggered the Demons' third-quarter goal rush with a mark and conversion in the opening minutes.

He was back, he was forward. He was everywhere.

It was a performance worth three votes and the bearded wonder would be a more than worthy winner of the league's best and fairest award.

While giant Giant Rory Lobb started with promise, Gawn quickly asserted his authority. It was 32 hitsouts to 12 at three-quarter time.

A hook tap from Gawn late in the second term, finding a running onballer, deep in the back pocket for a clearance was just so pure. It was like a clean possession. That's how valuable he is.

Yes, Gawn will be an obstacle for any finals combatant, not the least Geelong which stands to start three-gamer Ryan Abbott against him in the first final, unless Rhys Stanley can prove his fitness.

Either way, what a psychological advantage.

Five unanswered goals in the third term - seven consecutive - highlighted Melbourne's dominance.

If last week's win against West Coast gave the Demons confidence, a second win against a top eight side would have them believing.

The Demons were down three players at half time. Dean Kent (shoulder) and Dom Tyson (wrist) would take no further part in the game while Jake Melksham (head clash) was down but not out.

The week off is needed, it might not help Kent or Tyson, but it means Jack Viney will get back and he'll look good in the middle alongside fellow uncompromising types Clayton Oliver, Angus Brayshaw and James Harmes.

Harmes' star continues to rise. He went to Josh Kelly from the first bounce and by half time, the GWS ballwinner had just 10 touches, well down on his usual dominance.

But Harmes wasn't just locking down one of the game's best, he was getting in the action too.

His first goal from just outside 50 ensured the Demons kept in touch in the first term, he should have had a second but missed from in front.

It was the Demons by 11 points at half time, 43 at the last break and the game was effectively over.

When Maxy ran to the bench in the dying minutes, the MCC stood to applause. He's giving them plenty to cheer about.

On a weekend when Dusty had done his medal chances no harm, Maxy showed his true mettle as well.

You might think young Mr Abbott of Grovedale might wear out the tape.

 

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