MELBOURNE remains hopeful its star ruck duo of Max Gawn and Luke Jackson will both be available for Thursday night's top-of-the-table blockbuster against Geelong.

Gawn appears a certain inclusion after missing the last fortnight with a syndesmosis injury, but Jackson will have to pass a fitness test later this week after sitting out last weekend's win over Adelaide with a knee problem.

The sudden retirement of Majak Daw last month meant the Demons took no recognised rucks to the Adelaide Oval, with key forward pair Sam Weideman and Mitch Brown doing the bulk of the workload.

Despite losing the hitout count 57-13 against the Crows, the side's midfield still won the clearance battle to help Melbourne record a second successive victory and ensure it will head to GMHBA Stadium on Thursday night as the ladder leader.

Reilly O'Brien and Sam Weideman contest the ruck during round 16, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"Max trained on (Saturday) at Adelaide Uni. The AusKick was on and he was pretty good. He did pretty much a match load and moved really well, so he'll be right for Thursday night," Demons coach Simon Goodwin said over the weekend.

"He's our captain, he's our leader and he's a really important player to us. To not have him for the last couple of weeks and still get the results, it's really pleasing for our group and it's a credit to the rest of the leaders."

Melbourne has also given important forward Tom McDonald renewed hope of returning this season, reducing the timeframe on his return to "eight to 10 weeks" as he recovers from a foot problem.