Demons expect Gawn to face Swans in AFL

Melissa Woods
Melbourne's Max Gawn tops the AFL in 2018 for total hitouts and average hitouts per game

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin insists Max Gawn is a certain starter for their AFL clash with Sydney despite the injured ruckman failing to train with the main squad on Thursday.

Gawn was seen limping early in the week with his calf strapped and only managed a light jog at Demons training but Goodwin said the 26-year-old would face the Swans at the MCG on Sunday.

Goodwin says Gawn was "just having a light week" and would train fully on Saturday.

"He's obviously had a big load throughout the year so it's about managing him," Goodwin said.

"He's under no doubt that he will be playing this week and we're really confident he will play on Sunday."

Rather than calf soreness Goodwin said Gawn had some "bumps and bruises".

While Gawn has the green light, forward Jake Melksham (hamstring) and defender Michael Hibberd (quad), who also trained away from the main group, won't play but Goodwin said they would be available for take on West Coast next round in Perth.

Sitting fourth after their percentage-boosting win over Gold Coast, Melbourne have a tough run to finals with games looming against top three teams in the Eagles and GWS.

Goodwin said the eighth-ranked Swans, who pipped Collingwood by two points last round, would be a tough proposition.

"You saw the character of that footy club last week and their ability to perform under pressure has been a hallmark of theirs for the last 15 years," Goodwin said.

"We're under no illusions of what we're up against this week."

A key threat for the Demons is Sydney goal-kicking ace Lance Franklin, who bagged six against the Magpies.

Goodwin said Sam Frost would get first crack at Franklin, with Oscar McDonald chiming in.

"We'll have some plans in place but no doubt he's a huge challenge and can single-handedly take the game away," he said.