Max Gawn reveals problem with Melbourne's culture and sheds new light on Melksham hitting Steven May

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Max Gawn reveals the big problem with Melbourne’s culture that sheds new light on Melksham belting Steven May – and what he wished his teammates had done before the stoush

  • Demons skipper said side has had problem with hurtful banter for two years 
  • May allegedly insulted Melksham just before teammate punched him on Sunday 
  • Gawn said he has been ’embarrassed for two days’ by clash in restaurant 

Max Gawn has revealed sledging each other has been a problem for the Demons since 2020 in comments unearthed just after Jake Melksham punched teammate Steven May because the defender allegedly hit him with a devastating insult.

The Melbourne skipper said former Demon Aaron vandenBerg hit out at hurtful banter between players in a meeting two years ago, forcing the team to confront a lack of respect between footballers. 

Melksham has had surgery on his infected hand after punching May at an exclusive French restaurant on Sunday after the fullback allegedly told him, ‘If you had played in the granny [grand final] we would have lost.’

Gawn confessed he has also been guilty of putting his teammates down and said the Demons made an effort to make their banter less pointed, especially when it came to performance on the field – which is the opposite of what May is alleged to have done.

Gawn (right) chairs Jake Melksham off the ground after his 200th game two weeks ago. The Demons skipper believes hurtful banter has been a problem for the team for years

Gawn (right) chairs Jake Melksham off the ground after his 200th game two weeks ago. The Demons skipper believes hurtful banter has been a problem for the team for years

'I've been embarrassed for the last two days,' Gawn told the media on Wednesday (pictured)

‘I’ve been embarrassed for the last two days,’ Gawn told the media on Wednesday (pictured)

‘Take Jake Lever, let’s say he takes 10 intercept marks and he’s had the best game on the MCG that he could possibly do and we’ve won, we’re all up and about and we’re all happy. We get into the change rooms and he’s up here, he’s a 10 [out of 10],’ he told The Imperfects podcast last month.

‘And then in the change rooms, me included, we’d say, ‘Yeah, but you played on no one, mate’ or ‘What did you do with the ball? You just turned it over after you kicked it’ or something like that, as a joke.

‘No malice intended, but we bring him down to six [out of 10]. We bring him down to here off our own accord before media, family, friends, supporters even get to him.’

Steven May allegedly told Melksham, 'If you had played in the granny [grand final] we would've lost,' just before getting punched in a swanky French restaurant

Steven May allegedly told Melksham, ‘If you had played in the granny [grand final] we would’ve lost,’ just before getting punched in a swanky French restaurant

Gawn referenced the club’s problem with supposedly good-natured insults again on Wednesday as he fronted the media about May and Melksham’s clash, saying banter is something men ‘hide behind … when they’re hurtful at times’.

‘We’ve had a setback here, but I’ve had a setback with that almost every day in the last two years in the way I talk to teammates,’ he said.

The ruckman said six to seven Demons were at the Entrecote restaurant in Prahran when May was punched and said he wished some of them had confronted May about drinking alcohol when he is sidelined due to a concussion.

On Tuesday night the eatery posted the message, ‘Still no apology to my staff or the restaurant…disgraceful effort @stevenmay @melbournefc,’ on its Instagram account – and Gawn understood why.

Melksham (pictured playing against North Melbourne in round 10) has had to have surgery on his infected hand after hitting May

Melksham (pictured playing against North Melbourne in round 10) has had to have surgery on his infected hand after hitting May

‘Obviously there’s a lot of stuff that they’re thinking and a lot of people you have to tick off at football clubs, and I’m not saying the restaurant should have been the last,’ he said.

‘I’m not sure if it damaged the restaurant or damaged their brand – they probably have damaged the brand a tiny bit – so I should be apologetic for that.’

Gawn added that he has been ’embarrassed for the last two days’ by the clash.

‘I’ve come out quite frequently … talking about this sort of stuff, how we speak to each other,’ he said.

‘I’ve got no doubt and Melky and Maysy have worked it out and are working now, but it’s probably not an overnight thing.

‘They had an altercation. It probably will go on for a couple of weeks making sure they mend that friendship.’

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