Melbourne need to fight fire with fire if they’re any chance of upsetting reigning champions Richmond in their Anzac Day eve clash, according to ruckman Max Gawn.
While shutting down a rampant Richmond at the MCG next Tuesday night is key, Gawn says the Demons need to focus on improving their own offensive output.
Melbourne were kept scoreless in the second and third quarters of their 67-point thrashing by Hawthorn last round.
With the Tigers belting Brisbane by almost 100 points, it could get ugly for the Demons if they don’t deliver an improved showing.
“We were really poor offensively,” Gawn said on Thursday.
“I know they scored 100 points and there was some defensive stuff as well but we only managed to score that six or seven-goal mark, which is not what we’ve shown over the first five weeks.
“We had some really poor offensive stuff that came up and hopefully we can improve on that and there is a better performance this week.”
The star big man said it was up to the team’s most experienced players like himself, Nathan Jones and ex-Hawk Jordan Lewis to step up and show more leadership when their opponents got a roll on.
He said his team needed to be more mentally tough.
“The conditions were bad but Hawthorn mentally got on top of us throughout the whole game so mental resilience and toughness is something we need to improve,” Gawn said.
“We’re struggling a little bit with stopping momentum.
“The three leaders that were out there, plus a couple of other young leaders, need to recognise that as quickly as we can.
“Hopefully Richmond don’t get a bit of a run-on, but if they do, there’s a good chance for us to act on and show learnings from this week.”
Gawn said he was looking forward to measuring his own game against Richmond’s Toby Nankervis.
“He’s the premiership ruckman and he’s a quality player and he impressed me in his Sydney days,” the 26-year-old said.
“I’m excited for the battle – he’s really hard at it and I know he loves the contest so I’m looking forward to it.”