MAX GAWN will lead Melbourne in 2020 after being voted in as the Demons' sole captain, with the club going down the unusual path of abolishing the notion of an official leadership group.
Gawn, 28, has been promoted from a position in the leadership group to the role of skipper, and will take over from the co-captains of the last three seasons, Jack Viney and Nathan Jones.
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Instead of heading up a leadership team, Gawn will be supported by just vice-captain Viney in the streamlined group, refined to reflect where the list was at.
Coach Simon Goodwin also said there had been "two stand-out guys" with Gawn and Viney at the top of the vote, which engaged the players, coaches and club as a whole.
"It was pretty clear we had a big group of players with leadership potential," Goodwin said.
"He's a very passionate man, Jack, and he takes his leadership very seriously," Goodwin said.
"It's a great honour to be a captain of a footy club, but you don't know Jack Viney if you don't understand where he comes from.
"In saying that, we wanted a real collective approach to our leadership, we wanted to refine it.
Gawn and Goodwin speaking to the media now. Goodwin says they wanted to “refine” their leadership with the abolishment of a full leadership group.— Jen Phelan (Witham) (@JenPhelan_) February 24, 2020
Gawn: “It’s a dream come true to captain the oldest club in the land.”@AFLcomau pic.twitter.com/Ro7zrcezhX
"When you sit down as a club … you look at what's best for your club right at this moment."
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Goodwin admitted Viney, 25, was naturally "disappointed" with the fact he won't captain for a fourth season, but he remained as dedicated to the club as ever.
"His one thing since the moment he's walked through these doors is to make this club great and be a part of something special.
"His leadership won't change, the way he plays won't change, and my conversations with him have been really simple - he's all in.
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"He wants this club to be the best club it can be, he wants to support Max the best way he can, and there will be people out there who will say, 'Is he all in?'
"If you ask that question, you don't know Jack Viney. He's never been more passionate about this footy club."
Gawn is aiming to play in the Demons' round one clash with West Coast on March 22 after hurting his knee on a training camp in Maroochydore in late January, and says he remains on track to gather minutes in their second Marsh Community Series match on March 6.
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He said it was a "dream come true" to lead the Demons, after learning from previous club captains like James McDonald, Brad Green, Jack Grimes, Jack Trengove and Nathan Jones, who stepped down at the end of last season, and his mentor, the late Jim Stynes.
Congrats mate @gawndog37. From the “big baby giraffe” that walked in the door early days. To leading the football club ????. Leaders don’t create more followers, they create more leaders ??. @melbournefc— Brad Green (@bradgreen18) February 24, 2020
"I'm excited to put my own stamp on this," Gawn said.
"I don't think I'll change much. For those who know me and have seen how I operate in the last few years, I'm presuming that's why I've been voted in and that's what I'll try and stick to.
"I've been involved in almost anything you can be at a football club; I've been unprofessional and I've now got my habits and standards to a level that's good enough to lead a club.
"I know I've got to get better as a leader. There were numerous amounts of times last year where the leaders needed to stand up and probably didn't.
"Hopefully we're not 0-3, we're 3-0, but if we do get in that position again, that's where my improvement will be, but I'll continue to be the same person."
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Gawn said he caught up with Viney over breakfast on Monday with the two discussing how they would take the club into its next era.
"Me and Jack have a great relationship and I remember two years ago when he got voted as captain he pointed me out and said, 'It's going to be me and you that takes this club forward', and I said the same thing to him this morning," Gawn said.
"We're going to need a lot of help and we're asking the other 43 players to help us, but it's pretty clear in my mind that nothing changes, really.
"We've got countless names like Jake Lever, Aaron vandenBerg, Alex Neal-Bullen, Steven May, Neville Jetta that we're really going to need to become leaders as well.
"He will continue doing what he's doing and I'll continue doing what I'm doing."
The promotion caps off a strong 12 months from Gawn after he was named All Australian for the third time, won his second-straight club best and fairest (shared with Clayton Oliver), and averaged nearly 40 hit-outs a game.