Melbourne vice-captain Jack Viney has turned his back on AFL free agency in favour of re-signing with the Demons for another five years.
Max Gawn is uncomfortable pumping up his burgeoning Brownlow Medal chances, but Melbourne co-captain Nathan Jones is happy to do the job for him.
Following another standout performance against the Western Bulldogs last weekend, Gawn is now the clear third favourite behind Hawk Tom Mitchell and West Coast’s Andrew Gaff.
The last pure ruckman to win the award for the AFL’s best and fairest player was Scott Wynd in 1991, way back when the Western Bulldogs were still known as Footscray.
“It’s not something I’m thinking about to be honest,” Gawn told reporters on Wednesday at the launch of the fifth Field of Women event in association with Breast Cancer Network Australia.
“We don’t play footy for the individual awards and it’s certainly not at the forefront of my mind.
“We’ve got six weeks to potentially play my first finals game so that’s what is at the forefront of my mind.”
The sixth-placed Demons play eighth-ranked Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday night in a match vital to both’s teams’ finals hopes.
The Demons have the longest active finals drought of any club, having not participated in September action since Jones’ debut season in 2006.
Melbourne have yet to beat a team currently in the top eight and if they’re to do so on Saturday, they will likely need another dominant performance from Gawn, who Jones said deserved to be “100 per cent” in Brownlow contention.
“I don’t think he thinks about that too much but if you remove yourself from that and give it a bit of perspective, his season has been unbelievable,” said Jones.
“It’s hard to compare really, particularly as a ruckman.
“There’s no doubt about him deserving to be in the consideration and held in the same regard along with the best players in the competition.
“It’s a midfielders’ award, that’s what everyone says anyway and probably the stats suggest that as well.
“But Max is a midfielder so I don’t see why not.
“If you take into consideration his impact on the game, not only from his ruck craft point of view tapping it down the midfielders but his impact around the ground, scoring goals and racking up possessions, I don’t see why not.”