Max Gawn, Luke Jackson set to return for Melbourne in bumper clash against Geelong
Melbourne have received a double-boost for their AFL top-of-the-table clash with Geelong, with star ruck duo Max Gawn and Luke Jackson cleared to return from injury.
The Demons used Sam Weideman and Mitch Brown as a makeshift ruck combination in last week’s win over Adelaide after Jackson was a late withdrawal with a knee issue.
Gawn missed a second straight match with his syndesmosis injury.
Dees coach Simon Goodwin confirmed the premiership pair will return in Thursday night’s showdown with the Cats at GMHBA Stadium.
“I wouldn’t be playing them if they weren’t 100 per cent. They’re ready to go,” Goodwin said on Wednesday.
“Both guys were really touch and go to get up for last week.
“Max had an incredibly strong session on Saturday in Adelaide and Jacko was very similar back in Melbourne.
“They’re itching to get out there and play.
“They’re a big part of our footy team and to get them both back in at once is really exciting.”
Melbourne (12-3) have regained top spot on the ladder with wins over the Crows and Brisbane over the past fortnight but could relinquish that position if they lose to Geelong (11-4).
The Cats have won their last six matches, including a 112-point thrashing of lowly North Melbourne at home last week.
The Demons won all three meetings between the sides last season, including an after-the-siren triumph at GMHBA Stadium and an 83-point demolition in the preliminary final.
“It’s exciting, it feels like a final and our players are looking forward to it,” Goodwin said.
“There’s a lot of excitement around the group and a lot of energy this week.
“There’s no bigger challenge than to head down to Geelong and play on their home ground.”
The Cats have a 4-1 record at the Kardinia Park venue this season.
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