Brodie Grundy gets last laugh over Max Gawn in ‘personal statement’

It was billed as the blockbuster match-up of the season opener and Brodie Grundy wasted no time reminding the AFL world he’s still at the peak of his powers.

The Sydney Swans led by just two points at three quarter time but exploded in the final term to defeat Melbourne 86 (12.14) to 64 (9.10) on Thursday night.

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Grundy was traded from Collingwood after the 2022 season as part of a salary cap dump, and spent one wasted season at the Demons playing alongside Max Gawn and being told to work on his forward craft in the VFL.

The Sydney Swans picked up the steal of the off-season as Grundy went in search of the chance to play as a club’s sole ruckman.

Grundy, a two-time All Australian and Best and Fairest with Collingwood in 2018 and 2019, showed glimpses of that form in the AFL’s season opener on Thursday night.

After an evenly fought first half, Grundy exploded in the third quarter with eight contested possessions as he took the upper hand in the match-up against Gawn.

Roaming around the SCG like an extra midfielder, Grundy even made sure to drop a sneaky knee into Gawn’s back in the fourth quarter. The sneaky blow went unnoticed by the umpires as Gawn lay in pain on the turf.

“That’s got to hurt,” Luke Hodge said on Channel 7.

“He’s been very physical tonight Brodie Grundy any chance he’s had.”

It was a dominant performance against the AFL’s leading ruckman in Gawn, a six-time All Australian.

The Demons captain was targeted physically by Grundy and the Swans, limiting his impact.

Grundy received a healthy cheer from the Swans faithful as he made his way to the bench late in the final term once Sydney had the win in the bag.

James Brayshaw said in commentary on Channel 7: “It’s like he’s taken it personally what’s happened in the last little while. Brodie Grundy is making a personal statement.”

Hodge said Grundy would make an immediate impact for the Swans in the middle of the ground.

“You look at the areas where they weren’t great in last year, which is stoppages, clearances, hit-outs, and seeing what he’s been able to do tonight,” Hodge said.

“They also went after Taylor Adams to lift in that area. To see the effort he’s done, how physical he’s been. We’ve spoken about Gawn being the best ruckman the last five, six years.

“Grundy didn’t finish at Collingwood in Melbourne. He’s proven he’s back to where he

was five years ago when he was in all All-Australian form.”

Grundy said post-game: “I’m happy with my performance but it’s a long year.”

Swans coach John Longmire was full of praise for Grundy post game.

“His second half was huge. He kept going and ploughing through. His second and third efforts, his work around the footy was enormous. I just feel really pleased for him.

“He’s got that one out of the way and now he can settle into the season.

“He was a little bit anxious and excited coming to a new club against his old team.

“He’s a pro. He knows he’s got to do a job and gets himself into a state to go out and deliver.(It was a) good start from him.”


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