Larger than life Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn has put an injury-plagued season behind him and left his September schedule open.
After playing every game for the first time of his career two seasons ago, the 26-year-old big man spent nine matches on the sidelines in 2017 with a serious hamstring injury.
The Demons coped well without the 2016 All-Australian ruckman, limping to seven wins and five losses upon his return, but botched a finals berth with a shock final-round defeat to out-of-contention Collingwood.
“I’m not hoping for another 2017,” Gawn told AAP.
“That was a relatively disappointing year for myself.
“I was in pretty good form in the early rounds of the year and unfortunately I decided to tackle (Geelong captain) Joel Selwood, which isn’t a smart thing to do.
“Twelve weeks went by and I didn’t come back in the level of fitness I needed to be.”
However, fitness shouldn’t be an issue this year with the 208cm enforcer dropping some unwanted kilograms and running niggle-free at the start of the year.
“I’m ticking all the boxes I need to be now,” he said as the Demons returned to post-Christmas training.
“We’ve just got to get into match practice and see if I can hold my end up there.”
While acknowledging there’s a lot of hard work on the track still in store for the Demons until their opening-round MCG clash against Geelong, Gawn said the club’s finals push had numerology on its side.
“Two years ago we finished 10th, last year we finished ninth. So, in theory, there’s only one more position to go isn’t there?” he said.
“Obviously you want to improve and the only improvement is to play finals. That’d probably be a realistic goal for us.”
But, should the ambitious Demons breakthrough for their first top-eight finish since 2006, the 74-gamer isn’t putting a ceiling on how high the club can soar.
“I’m more interested in being in Melbourne during September rather being in America where I was last year,” Gawn said.
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