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Hawks to quell Gawn with clearance work

Tom Hussey  September 12, 2018 3:38 PM

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 15:  Max Gawn of the Demons and Ben McEvoy of the Hawks compete during the round four AFL match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Melbourne Demons at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 15, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Media)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 15: Max Gawn of the Demons and Ben McEvoy of the Hawks compete during the round four AFL match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Melbourne Demons at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 15, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Media)

Ruckman Ben McEvoy says the Hawks will take a ground-level approach to curtailing All-Australian ruckman Max Gawn when they face Melbourne on Friday night.

Meeting the Demons in a final for the first time in 28 years, Gawn is set to present the Hawks with a significant challenge, with the ruckman currently amongst the favourites to take out the Brownlow Medal after a stellar 2018 season.

But McEvoy said the Hawks were confident of containing the 208-cm big man’s influence by controlling the clearances at ground level despite Gawn’s ability to dominate the hit-outs – a tactic that worked wonders for the Hawks the last time the two sides met.

The Hawks romped to a 67-point win in Round 4, dominating the clearances 56-38 despite Gawn winning 66 hit-outs to McEvoy’s 27.

“It’ll be a big challenge, but we’ll probably have to tackle them as a midfield as a whole,” McEvoy told SEN on Tuesday.

“He’s such a big man, he’s probably going to get his hand on more than his fair share of footy, but if we can control that a little bit (it’ll go a long way towards winning).”

“We did it last time we played them, we were able to mop up at ground level so it’ll have to be a sort of a team approach probably.”

But the Hawks ruckman also conceded that Gawn presents a far greater challenge than simply his influence at stoppages.

“He’s got an unbelievably well-rounded game and he’s a huge man, but he moves really well,” McEvoy said.

“We know how effective he is in the ruck and getting his hand on the ball but then he does have the ability to follow up as well.

“His marking around the ground has been really good for a long time too, particularly in the latter half of this year he’s been able to clunk a few so it’s a big challenge coming up.”

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