EVEN if Paddy Ryder doesn't recover from a fractured cheekbone to face Melbourne on Saturday, Max Gawn believes Port Adelaide has "the perfect ruckman" to carry the load.
Former West Coast premiership big man Scott Lycett crossed to the Power in last year's off-season with the plan of forming a daunting ruck combination with Ryder.
As Gawn prepares for his 100th game on Saturday, he said Lycett's arrival meant there was no chance he could relax ahead of the MCG clash despite Ryder's potential absence.
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"(Lycett) can run, he's agile. Without pumping up my opponent too much, if you wanted to make the perfect ruckman he'd probably be right in there and he looked to be in some pretty good touch in his first two JLT games," Gawn said.
And if Ryder does recover from surgery on his depressed facial fracture in time to take the field, Gawn acknowledged he would have his work cut out for him.
"As individuals Lycett was probably the ruckman of the finals series last year and Paddy was the 2017 All Australian (ruckman) and we've had some really good battles," he said on Monday.
"The two of them combined is quite daunting… but it is exciting. It's always good to play the best and at the moment Lycett is the best and Ryder was in 2017."
With Braydon Preuss unlikely to play after straining his groin in a VFL practice match two weeks ago, Gawn could go into the match with the Power as Melbourne's sole genuine ruckman.
It's not a situation unfamiliar to Gawn to be one-out, although Sam Weideman or Tom McDonald could provide back-up where needed.
Gawn's 100th game could also mark his first match-up against his former teammate and great mate Jack Watts, who could play in a new role at half-back for the Power this season.
Watts did not play when the Power and Demons met at Adelaide Oval in round 14 last year.
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"I have talked to Wattsy. He's emcee-ing my wedding so I'm making sure that he's got everything down pat – I'll have to keep him in line a little bit," Gawn said with typical humour.
"We didn't play against him last year. Everyone knows that when the siren goes you're not friends but we'll have a catch up afterwards and hopefully he plays because it'll be good to see him out there.
"I'm Wattsy's No.1 supporter. I reckon he's a serious talent. He's had some bad luck with injuries and a bit of scrutiny and what-not. He'll be potentially playing half-back which is a pretty good position for him.
"We'll look at how we can attack against him but he's a skilful player and he can hurt you if you don't look into him."
Gawn, 27, said his journey to reach the milestone had been unique.
"I think it's an average of 9.9 games per year which I'm not that proud of. (But) I've said it before, I wouldn't change how I've done it," he said.