Melbourne Demons captain Max Gawn cut a forlorn figure in the Demons locker room after he was forced out of the game with a knee injury in his team's loss to the Lions on Friday at the Gabba. Gawn left the game against the Lions in the first quarter as he hobbled off the field in pain.
During half-time, cameras showed Gawn sitting on the floor in the change rooms with ice around his knee. Gawn looked frustrated with the setback having been the victim of an ACL injury in the past.
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AFL great Garry Lyon said Gawn's dejected look was a worrying sign for the Demons. "The look on his face to me...this is a man who has been through it...this look here. He is such an upbeat man and that had a bit of a sad look," Lyon said on Fox Sports at half-time.
Coach Simon Goodwin said the club would wait for scans to confirm the extent of his injury, but did not rule out an ACL tear. Gawn missed the 2012 season after suffering an ACL injury.
"There's an emotional toll to your team when you lose your skipper early in the game," Goodwin said. "He's got a knee, we need to get it scanned. So we'll just have to wait and see."
Goodwin did not want to speculate on the worst case scenario considering Gawn's history. "It'd be unfair to go down that pathway ... we're unsure," he added.
"I don't want his family to be sitting home thinking he's done his knee." Gerard Whateley agreed the image of Gawn sitting in what looked like despair on the floor was a painful watch for fans of AFL.
“That image is worth 1,000 words if you are seeing it. And if you’re not, it’s despondency if ever you’ve seen it,” Whateley said on AFL Nation.
Gawn looks so dejected in the rooms. Awful seeing that 😭😭 #AFLLionsDees
— Nat Edwards (@Nat_Edwards) March 24, 2023
New recruit Brodie Grundy stepped in for Gawn after the captain was ruled early in the game. "He's missed 12 months of footy," Goodwin said of Grundy.
"I thought his second half was pretty strong, he took a big step forward again tonight. He's going to have to shoulder a bit of responsibility depending on Max, so I'm sure he's the type of ruckman that will relish that opportunity."
Gabba chaos during Lions win against Demons
Gawn's early exit from the game wasn't the only drama unfolding at the Gabba. The Lions were leading by 40 points with about 12 minutes remaining in the final term on Friday night when the lights went out at the Gabba and the players were forced to leave the field.
A lone bulb caught fire in a tower, which prompted the game to be put on hold as technicians attempted to fix the issue before the 60-minute cut off that would have handed Brisbane victory. Commentator James Brayshaw said: 'Oh no, oh no" as the stadium and fans watched on as the lights powered down.
Players stopped play and were stranded on the field as the 30,047 vocal fans broke into song waiting for a resumption. Speaking on Fox Sports, AFL great Luke Hodge noted the huge power surge before the lights went out.
Boundary reporter Abbey Holmes said on Seven that there was confusion within the ground. "We have absolutely no idea what’s going on," she said. “The torches from the iPhones here going on. There was another big bang about 10 seconds ago.”
Rules state that if power doesn't resume after 60 minutes the Lions would walk away with the win. Fortunately for the players and fans after a 27 minute delay, play resumed with the Lions holding off a spirited Demons fightback.
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