It’s a small sample size, but Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin likes what he’s seen from the Max Gawn-Braydon Preuss ruck tandem and is keen to continue the experiment.
Preuss impressed in his debut for the Demons with 13 hit-outs and two goals in last week’s win over Sydney following his off-season switch from North Melbourne.
He will partner with Gawn against St Kilda at the MCG on Saturday if he is able to shake off a sore shoulder that kept him away from the main group at training on Wednesday.
Gawn is known to relish the challenge of going it alone in the ruck but his game clearly didn’t suffer with Preuss in the line-up, the lead ruckman dominating with 55 hit-outs against the Swans.
“It worked well for us so we’ll keep having a look at it,” Goodwin said of the ruck duo.
“They seemed to have a really good chemistry with each other, they’re working well together and they’re understanding each other’s games and how they work together.
“It was a good step in Sydney but it’s one week into something new.”
As well as helping establish dominance in ruck contests, the coach said the addition of Preuss would also help take pressure off tall forwards Tom McDonald and Sam Weideman.
Goodwin will be spoilt for choice at the selection table as he looks to improve on his side’s 1-3 record.
Jordan Lewis is poised to play his first game of the season after overcoming a hamstring injury suffered just days before Round 1 and Neville Jetta is available after he was a late withdrawal from the team that defeated the Swans at the SCG with knee soreness.
Jake Lever continues to edge closer to a return from a knee reconstruction, but the club will maintain a cautious approach with the star defender.
“We haven’t got a time line for him but he’s doing a lot of training with the main group now,” Goodwin said.
“He’s probably still got at least a minimum of four or five weeks before we even consider playing him any form of footy.”