AFL 2024; Melbourne captain Max Gawn needs to rally flat teammates

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Melbourne captain Max Gawn described his side’s two defeats in the past three weeks as the club’s worst performances in five years and said his job now was to “work through” some of the problems plaguing his team.

However, the six-time All-Australian said he and his teammates should not dwell on the Alice Springs disaster for too long as it would only serve to “give Collingwood an advantage” ahead of next Monday’s King’s Birthday showdown.

Gawn was “pretty dejected” after Sunday’s 92-point loss to Fremantle, two weeks after losing to AFL rivals West Coast by 35 points in Perth.

While there was a 38-point win over St Kilda between the two humiliating losses, Gawn admitted he could not deny his team needed to improve significantly ahead of their clash with the Magpies at the MCG next Monday.

“We got smashed in the contest, we got smashed on the free kick… we just got smashed all over the floor,” Gawn said after the loss.

“It’s been a smooth year, but two out of two of the last three weeks have probably been our worst performance in five years.

“The glass is half full because there is still so much time left in the year. I’m not sure where we stand, but we are pretty close to the top eight and have a good chance of getting back on our feet.

“The glass is half empty, and that is my current situation, which is quite sobering.”

Gawn said there were clear “behaviours” among players on the field that needed to be addressed and that as captain he would take this on to ensure the focus was quickly returned to improvement.

“I’ll get into that mode pretty quickly,” he said.

“Footy turns very quickly and if you think about this game for too long you are already giving Collingwood an advantage. I have to make sure I am aware of some of the behaviours we don’t want on the field and try to correct that and I place a lot of emphasis on a game that a lot of Melbourne fans and the whole country are watching.

“I’m not looking forward to discussing this, but the findings will help us next week.”

Melbourne dropped to 10th place after the loss and are level on points with the Magpies ahead of their clash next week.

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