MELBOURNE coach Simon Goodwin has declared Max Gawn a certain starter against West Coast on Saturday night at Subiaco.
But Sunday's 57-point dismantling of premiers the Western Bulldogs could come at a huge cost for the Demons, with co-captain Nathan Jones (quad) and Jack Watts (hamstring tightness) in doubt for next week's game.
Neither took the field in the last quarter as the Bulldogs were hammered into submission at Etihad Stadium.
Goodwin said Jones and Watts pulled up "a bit sore” after the game.
"If there's any risk we certainly won't be playing them,” Goodwin said.
"It's important that we make sure we have a really healthy squad for as long as we can for the rest of the year.”
Gawn has spent the past three months building back up from surgery on his hamstring tendon, damaged in the Round 3 loss to Geelong.
"It's going to be great to get a big man back in the team,” Goodwin said.
"He's a really important player for us and he's done a hell of a lot of work.
"He was very close to playing today so he'll be a big bonus to get back in there.”
Goodwin praised the Demons last night for a "total team performance”.
The Demons won contested possessions (173-160), clearances (40-34) and equalled the Bulldogs' 85 tackles.
"We really set ourselves for a contested ball game and a high pressure game,” Goodwin said.
"I thought our pressure throughout the day was outstanding and in terms of total team buy in to that area, I thought it was our best game.”
The Demons bullied the premiers, only losing momentum for a "little patch” in the second quarter.
"It's always nice to string four quarters together and it's probably been something we've been working on,” Goodwin said.
"The intensity of our how the game is being played at the moment it's really hard to keep momentum in the game.”
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