MAX Gawn has been confirmed as Melbourne’s new AFL captain.
The All-Australian ruckman has assumed the role after a leadership vote was ratified by the club’s hierarchy.
Nathan Jones and Jack Viney have co-captained the Demons for the past three seasons, with Jones stepping down at the end of last year.
Viney retains a leadership role, but has been demoted to vice-captain.
“This year we have limited our formal leadership titles to just captain and vice-captain,” Melbourne football boss Josh Mahoney said.
“We will not be appointing a formal leadership group.
“We see our growth coming from the increased leadership of all players who will take on a shared leadership responsibility.”
Gawn said the entire club’s leadership needed to improve as the Demons attempt to rebound from a horror 2019 season in which they won only five games after reaching a preliminary final the previous year.
“We had numerous amount of times last year where the leaders needed to stand up and probably didn’t – that’s myself, Jack, Nathan and Neville (Jetta) in the leadership group last year,” Gawn said.
“Hopefully we’re not 0-3, hopefully 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.”
The rise to club captaincy is another significant step in Gawn’s career.
The 28-year-old has played 120 games for Melbourne and has been named the club’s best-and-fairest for the past two seasons, including as joint winner with Clayton Oliver last year.
He was named in the All-Australian team in both of those years, as well as in 2016.
However, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for a player who in 2018 admitted he used to drink heavily and smoke on the way to training early in his career.
A self-confessed “class clown” when he was first drafted a decade ago, Gawn also had to battle through serious knee injuries before finally cementing himself in the Melbourne line-up in the second half of 2015.
Gawn is now one of the most dominant ruckmen in the competition alongside Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy.
© AAP 2020