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Can Demons captain Gawn break a long-standing Norm Smith drought?


If Max Gawn wins the Norm Smith Medal, Melbourne will have won the 2021 premiership.

That is the opinion of Leigh Matthews who feels the Demons captain’s influence on his side is so great that a strong performance will almost certainly lead to victory.

The Dees are looking to break a much-publicised 57-year premiership drought against the Western Bulldogs in Perth on Saturday and Gawn could hold the key.

There is another long-standing drought in that there has not been a ruckman win a Norm Smith since Simon Madden claimed best on ground honours for Essendon way back in 1985.

Could Gawn buck that trend?

Not all ruckmen are meant to be match winners, but Matthews believes this one could very well be.

“They’re not,” he said on Sportsday.

“There’s the rule and the exception to the rule which I often talk about.

“One of those rules is that ruckmen are not usually Norm Smith Medallists. Simon Madden was the last one back in 1985.

“Nic Naitanui is a certain type of ruckman, very valuable, so is Brodie Grundy and other ruckmen of the era, but I reckon Max Gawn has got a lot of Simon Madden about him.

“We know how good Simon Madden was, because not only was he a good ruckman with his hit-outs, but he was a really good mark of the footy. He could go forward and take a mark as a big forward.

“Max Gawn, I must say, is showing a bit of that, but he’d be long odds to go and win the Norm Smith Medal.

“Melbourne is my tip to win it anyway, but if Max Gawn wins the Norm Smith Medal, well they’ll be certainties.”

Gawn was his side’s best player in the Preliminary Final win over Geelong when he booted five goals to go along with 19 disposals and 33 hit-oputs.

He sits behind teammates Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver as well as Bulldogs skipper Marcus Bontempelli in Norm Smith betting with most bookmakers.


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