Demons won't let Gawn be physically targeted again

·2-min read
Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS

Ruckman Brodie Grundy is adamant Port Adelaide's successful body-checking of skipper Max Gawn is a one-off and Melbourne won't allow a player to be physically targeted the same way again.

The Power made a point of checking Gawn's runs to stop him getting back in time to make intercept marks and attempted to work the star ruckman over physically in Friday's four-point win.

Gawn had 30 hitouts but collected just 12 disposals and didn't take a mark.

Grundy wouldn't buy in to comments from North Melbourne great David King that the Demons had "disrespected" Gawn in failing to remonstrate with Power players.

He believed Gawn "rises to the occasion" when physically targeted.

"Well you get that when you're Max Gawn, because you're a superstar," Grundy told reporters on Monday.

"I think he sees that as a badge of honour in many ways, they're trying to go after our captain and he's a quality player.

"So in one part you tip your cap but in another part it can be a little bit frustrating.

"We spoke about that at half-time, how can we support Max? I suppose when it happens this week or next week, not just to Max, we want to be a side that really is galvanised and we just see it as an opportunity going forward.

"I don't think that this is a long-standing trait of the Melbourne Football Club. I think this is just an event that happened on the weekend and we'll learn from it."

Melbourne next face in-form Fremantle, whose ruck pairing of Sean Darcy and former Demon Luke Jackson have been crucial to their season-reviving run of three consecutive wins.

Grundy, Jackson's replacement, batted away the suggestion the Demons would physically target the 21-year-old, but acknowledged the ruck contest would be crucial at the MCG on Saturday.

"They're a great duo and hopefully me and Max can help combat that," he said.

Grundy has relished spending more time forward, kicking seven goals, as part of his partnership with Gawn and noted it was easier on his body.

"When I have my opportunities forward I really feel confident in my goal kicking and my preparation," he said.

"We're both mature-aged bodies so we need to get that balance right.

"It's not a finished project but after 10 rounds ... as a player, I think it's (the partnership) been pretty good."

Clayton Oliver won't be available for the Demons for the "short term" after scans revealed the gun midfielder has a hamstring strain.

"His return to play will ultimately be guided by his ability to deal with increased loads and reconditioning," Melbourne high performance boss Selwyn Griffith said.

"As such, we will have greater clarity as Clayton progresses through his program."