Max Gawn expects Brodie Grundy to settle the score at AFL reunion as Andrew Dillon tips GWS to win 2024 flag

Joanna Guelas
AAP
3 Min Read
Brodie Grundy and Max Gawn will face-off for the first time since Grundy left Melbourne.
Brodie Grundy and Max Gawn will face-off for the first time since Grundy left Melbourne. Credit: Morgan Hancock/Getty Images

Brodie Grundy may be itching to settle the score with his former team but Melbourne captain Max Gawn believes the new Sydney ruck doesn’t need to prove himself in the AFL season opener.

Seven months after the Demons pulled the pin on their attempts to partner him with Gawn, Grundy will line up at the SCG on Thursday night as the Swans’ No. 1 ruck for their opening-round blockbuster.

The move came after the two-time All-Australian was initially squeezed out of Collingwood in 2022 because of salary cap pressure.

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Gawn’s advice to his former teammate came as AFL boss Andrew Dillon tipped Greater Western Sydney to win the 2024 flag.

The four captains of the teams playing in Sydney for opening round joined Dillon to launch the season on Wednesday. GWS will host 2023 champions Collingwood on Saturday.

Grundy has so-far impressed at his third AFL club in three years, shining in last week’s practice match against the Brisbane Lions.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 22:  Brodie Grundy of the Swans handles the ball during an AFL practice match between Sydney Swans and Greater Western Sydney Giants at Tramway Oval on February 22, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Brodie Grundy will be looking to fly high against Melbourne on Thursday. Credit: Matt King/Getty Images

Asked whether he believes Grundy will have an axe to grind at their reunion, Gawn was candid.

“I presume he will. Anyone who’s gone out of two teams now and found a new place and won a chance to play (the) first game of the year against your old team, I feel like that might be a bit of the thought process going into the game,” he said.

“But he doesn’t need to prove anything to me and I dare say he doesn’t need to prove a thing to his teammate or the AFL community. He seems happy.”

Recruited by Melbourne to work in tandem with Gawn, Grundy was ultimately dropped and missed out on a finals appearance last year after the Dees found they functioned better with Gawn as the sole ruckman.

Still, the Melbourne skipper expects a tough battle ahead when he goes head-to-head with his former teammate.

“There might be a stalemate in the end because we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses quite well,” Gawn said.

“I’m sure there’s going to be moments where we’re going to see Brodie at his best and hopefully, they’re just moments.

“I wouldn’t mind him being best-on-ground but us winning by 20 or 30 points.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 06: Dane Rampe of the Swans and Max Gawn of the Demons pose for a photograph during the Sydney Opening Round Media Opportunity at Circular Quay on March 06, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Sydney skipper Dane Rampe and Melbourne captain Max Gawn in Sydney on Wednesday. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images

Dillon said the Giants are walking into their opening-round clash as true flag contenders.

GWS are looking to go one step further after falling short of the grand final last year in a heartbreaking one-point loss to the Pies.

“The Giants are looking pretty good,” Dillon said.

Giants skipper Toby Greene said there was good rivalry developing with Collingwood.

“They were the team to beat last year, went on to win it the week after they beat us in the prelim,” Greene said.

“We’re really looking forward to the opportunity and start the season off with a win hopefully.”

While Giants boss David Matthews declared his club’s hatred of the Magpies, Greene played a straight bat.

“I think he was trying to sell a few tickets,” Greene said.

“It is good rivalry though, there’ll be a bit of feeling on Saturday night - playing against the best teams always is.

“We want to beat them as much as they want to beat us.

“I can’t say I hate them, but I’d love to beat them.”

Grundy will not be the only Swan having a Thursday night reunion.

Former Demons midfielder James Jordon will make his debut in the red and white after impressing in the pre-season.

Moving interstate after failing to land a permanent spot in Simon Goodwin’s best 22, the unused 2021 premiership substitute starred in the trial game against the Lions.

Sydney stalwart Dane Rampe said the 23-year-old has “made a difference” since arriving in the harbour city.

“He’s probably snuck under the radar. He couldn’t have impressed any more,” Rampe said.

“Nothing seems to faze him. He’s provided a great bit of depth and probably a little bit of experience as well.

“You can get stuck in your ways and that’s why we embrace having Brodie and James come in because they offer a different perspective.”

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