Brodie Grundy nullifies Max Gawn with clever tactic to lift Sydney to victory over Melbourne

Sydney recruit Brodie Grundy has inspired his new team to a stirring victory over Melbourne in the AFL season opener.

Playing for his third team in the space of three seasons, Grundy unleashed a clever tactic to nullify Demons captain and six-time All-Australian Max Gawn.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: How Grundy nullified Gawn.

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The pair were teammates last year, but the two-pronged ruck attack failed spectacularly with Grundy finishing the season in the VFL while the Demons lost both their finals.

However, despite only being at the club for 12 months the former Collingwood big man learnt plenty when training alongside Gawn and was ready to use newfound knowledge.

At centre bounces, Grundy would step across the line to deny Gawn space and the ability to run and jump at the ball.

Channel 7 commentators picked up the tactic after the first half.

“Brodie Grundy on about four occasions has stepped across the line to take Max Gawn’s space,” James Brayshaw said just after half-time.

Grundy and Gawn battle in the ruck. Credit: Getty Images

“There’s been a change in the centre circle ruck rule. You can now fend off. We will watch that with interest, it’s a change in technique for him.”

Brian Taylor added, “Not allowing him to use his athleticism and jump. A good tactic..”

Four-time premiership Hawk Luke Hodge suggest Gawn should try the same move as Grundy continued to dominate the ruck battle.

“I think he should try to do the same thing. He’s letting Grundy take all the ground off him. Why doesn’t he initiate the contact and move over Grundy’s side to try and do the same,” Hodge said.

As Grundy asserted his dominance in the middle, the Swans finally broke the Demons shackles in the final quarter to kick away to a big win.

Grundy was shaded by Gawn in the hitouts, but won a whopping nine clearances to go with his 22 possessions and six tackles in a best on ground performance.

Sydney piled on four consecutive goals at the start of the final term to seal a 12.14 (86) to 9.10 (64) triumph in front of 40,012 fans at a sold-out SCG on Thursday night.

Isaac Heeney stepped up in a Swans midfield missing injured guns Callum Mills, Luke Parker and Taylor Adams, tallying 26 disposals, 18 contested possessions, one goal and a career-best 13 clearances.

Chad Warner (26 touches, one goal) and Nick Blakey (26 possessions) were also busy, while Hayden McLean and Will Hayward booted two goals each.

It was a bruising contest, with Dees defender Jake Bowey sidelined after hurting right shoulder in collision with Justin McInerney not long after Jack Billings replaced Bailey Laurie as a tactical substitute during the third term.

Melbourne players paid tribute to recently retired teammate Angus Brayshaw before the match, taping up the much-loved utility’s helmet in their change room and touching it on the way out onto the field.

Their inaccuracy was costly early as Oliver Florent booted the first goal of the season from outside 50m to help Sydney to a nine-point lead – 3.3 to 1.6 – at quarter time.

A dour second term featured just one major, from the boot of Swans forward McInerney, until Ed Langdon kicked truly with a set shot after the halftime siren.

Fritsch twice got the Demons back within a kick during the third quarter before putting them in front with a third major when most players stopped on an umpire’s whistle and he took the advantage.

Melbourne kicked five goals to three for the term from just 11 inside-50s.

But the Swans turned for home two points in front and team-lifting goals from Warner, Will Hayward, substitute Sam Wicks and Robbie Fox gave the home side a match-winning buffer.

The run of four straight Sydney goals only came to an end in unusual circumstances when Jacob van Rooyen accidentally shinned the ball through as he fell over in a marking contest.

Sydney face another huge test when they meet reigning premiers Collingwood in a Friday night blockbuster next week, while Melbourne have 10 days until their home game against the Western Bulldogs.

– With AAP

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