Max Gawn has dismissed ongoing criticism over Melbourne’s team song blunder, declaring the Demons have more important issues to address after a shaky AFL season restart.
Past greats and media commentators have piled on, with Nick Riewoldt slamming the Demons for a “lack of maturity” and “complete lack of awareness” in the moment after Saturday’s narrow win over Carlton.
The crime was singing the club song without captain Gawn and two recruits – Ed Langdon and Adam Tomlinson – who had not played for Melbourne in a win before.
The players laughed when they realised and sang the song again, with the incident later raising questions over the team’s “togetherness”.
But Dees skipper Gawn, who was completing a television interview when the first song was sung, said a host of variables under coronavirus protocols mitigated a mistake that he feels has been grossly overblown.
“I think it’s a storm in a teacup personally, I didn’t really mind it,” Gawn told Fox Footy on Tuesday night.
“Togetherness is a massive part of football clubs, I just don’t think that was a sign of non-togetherness.”
Gawn said Melbourne had bigger concerns, having coughed up a seven-goal lead before falling over the line against Carlton.
“To have a go at the maturity and leadership of our list for this … that’s more something that I’d say was the second half of the footy game,” Gawn said.
“The maturity and leadership that we’ve got to grow is on the football field. The fact that I missed the song … that’s not the talking point.
“The talking point is our fadeout in the last quarter and that’s what you judge my leadership and the team’s maturity on.
“You don’t judge it on 22 blokes standing 1.5 metres away (from each other) and forgetting that three people were still running down the race. It’s just a genuine non-issue.”
Melbourne have the chance to rectify their on-field form in a meeting with unbeaten Essendon at the MCG on Sunday.