AFL 2024; Melbourne captain Max Gawn defends player fitness

Melbourne captain Max Gawn has again defended his club’s culture following former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley’s attack on the physical fitness of the Demons players following last weekend’s Alice Springs attack by Fremantle.

It was the second defeat against the Western Australian side in three games after they lost to the lowly Eagles in Perth, with Gawn already describing both performances as “the worst in five years”, while teammate Christian Petracca said he “awkward”. ” by the way they played.

But after seeing footage of Melbourne’s players in the rooms after the 92-point loss to the Dockers, Buckley twice questioned whether the players were in the right shape for the AFL’s elite team, first on morning radio and then on his Fox Footy. program on Monday evening.

“When I was looking at this vision, I thought to myself… one, the energy is not great… but a thought popped into my head [that] this does not look like a tough, fit top-four side. A little body shape. I just don’t think it’s a hard and proper unit. I don’t expect energy after a 92-point loss, but they’re not as strong and ready as I would have expected them to be,” said Buckley On the couch.

His opinion was not widely supported by other pundits and while Gawn did not specifically address Buckley’s comments on Wednesday, he was adamant his team’s culture was “where it needs to be” but admitted they had major issues to address on the field.

Gawn said the annual visit of former MND Crusader coach and champion Neale Daniher this week had also provided a “circuit breaker” and reinforced the need for action rather than words to change things.

“With the week we’ve had, you can get it together in your head and talk a lot and talk a lot,” he said.

“There’s a lot of talk within our four walls about how we’re going to fix what happened. But in the end, what Neale says is action. He really speaks the truth this week. We have to do this.

“We’re not the team we want to be. But I’ve stood here a few times and defended our culture and I’ll continue to defend our culture. I think it needs to be off the field, but it’s not where it needs to be on the field.”

Gawn said there were some “pretty honest truths” his team-mates had to face this week in a review of last week’s game which painted an ugly picture of what the Demons were producing.

But seeking “revenge” for last year’s qualifying final loss to Collingwood in Monday’s King’s Birthday clash could help narrow the focus and bring back more of the hunger in Melbourne to do what is needed.

“We think we’re one of the better defensive and competitive teams, but we haven’t been in the last six weeks. If we want to get back to it, we have to go out there and do it,” he said.

“We’ve looked at the numbers and seen where we are in the AFL and they’re nowhere near the numbers we think we can achieve.

“I think it’s pretty cool, you’re going to have a pretty hungry Steven May out there wanting to make sure the Pies don’t score, a pretty hungry Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver to make sure we get a knock out and a pretty hungry Bailey Fritscha, Kozzie Pickett will score some goals.”

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