“Cox did have the better of him early but didn’t have the engine to go with him [Gawn]. Rotating rucks on Gawn he is just licking his lips when the first bloke goes off,” Keating said.
“He is 209 centimetres tall and 110 kilos – he is an amazing athlete. He runs all day, the only other person who could do that was Dean Cox.
“His ability to get his hands on the ball, especially at boundary throw-ins… and then he is so quick to get the ball to his boot.
“It was really important for him as captain and ruckman to have that sort of performance, especially for a team like Melbourne after they won the flag in ’21 but went out quickly last year.”
It was a very impressive performance, especially as Gawn, himself, acknowledged before the game he was acutely aware that he needed to deliver after an underwhelming September last year.
On the day of the game last week, Gawn volunteered on his regular segment on Triple M that he was determined to have a superior finals series this year to last, and further to that that his team had been embarrassed by its straight-sets exit last year and was determined to atone.
“We are talking about our exit last year, which was humiliating. Certainly, my own performance internally I am making sure I do not go down that path again,” Gawn said.
The captain at least delivered on his commitment to be vastly better than last year but after falling short against Collingwood the Demons remain vulnerable to a repeat quick exit from the finals were they to lose to Carlton this week. Not if Gawn has anything to say about it, though.