“Embarrassed” Melbourne skipper Max Gawn denies his club has mislead the public in the fallout from Jake Melksham and Steven May’s restaurant “wrestle” on Sunday night.
The Demons slapped May with a one-match ban for drinking while sidelined by concussion.
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When directly asked if Melbourne had been misleading with the information provided on Melksham when the altercation first hit headlines on Tuesday, Gawn defended the club’s actions.
“We’re not going to dance around the bush here – he obviously injured it in the altercation with Steven,” Gawn said.
“I don’t think we ever mislead you with that information – we just said it was an altercation.
“Stuff was done and Melky’s hurt his hand from it. He’s gone in and got it cleaned out.
“You’re never going to report an injury until you know all the facts.
“We’re not going to come out yesterday and say: ‘We think he’s got a sore hand, we’re not sure’. Today we know he’s got a sore hand. That’s why the injury gets reported as we do.
“It’s the same as (injured Dees big man) Tom McDonald – Tom McDonald, we had a rough idea what was going on but we didn’t really know until yesterday. So Tom McDonald’s injury was reported yesterday.
“We’re not misleading, that’s when the facts were dealt to us.
“There’s a lot more than just seeing a surgeon, there’s X-rays, an MRI, our own club doctors; there’s a lot going on.
“It’s the same if I hurt my knee – I’m going to see different specialists, different surgeons, different doctors to get the right aspect. We could say: ‘Oh, he maybe might have a sore hand’ – that’s just pointless. We’re telling you now he’s got a sore hand.”
May and Melksham reportedly came to blows at a popular Prahran restaurant on Sunday night, in front of five teammates and other shocked onlookers, after some “banter” between teammates got out of hand.
But Gawn denied claims a grand final sledge was used to spark the altercation.
“To be fair, it was a lot of banter. The one (quote) that’s got out is completely false,” Gawn said.
“I do want to get that out there. Because that looks bad on characters – that wasn’t said … There was some other hurtful banter that was there.”
Gawn said he had no issue punishing the duo with community service for their role in the restaurant “wrestle”.
“We’re role models in society and acting like that, obviously at a restaurant, a pretty popular restaurant … I think it’s just a bad example,” he said.
“Those two boys are very remorseful in what they did.
“In the end, violence is not the answer. Violence is never the answer.
“We feel like (May and Melksham) need to give back to the community.
“Jake Melksham and Steven May both got handed down the same punishment for the altercation which we think is fair. What they did is unacceptable.
“A one-week match penalty we didn’t think was suitable for the act that happened.
“It’s a horrible act, wrestling at a restaurant in the public, both being well-notable people in the community.
“They can give back to community service and work their hours through there.”
Gawn particularly expressed his disappointment in May for his “poor decision” to consume alcohol, but was confident the club could now move on.
“We expect Steve to be able to make decisions himself with the age he’s in and the experience he’s had. It was disappointing,” he said.
“I’m not going to lie, I’ve been embarrassed the last few days. I’ve come out frequently … talking about this stuff about how we talk to each other.
“We’ve had a setback here.
“It’s about how you act from that – Melky calling me pretty much straight away shows where this group’s got to. Obviously we would have loved for this not to happen … but this could be a stepping stone.
“I’ve got no doubt Melky and Mayzie have worked it out and are working it out. It’s not an overnight thing, they had an altercation, it will probably go on a couple of weeks making sure they mend that friendship.”
Melbourne head into Monday’s blockbuster Queen’s Birthday clash with back-to-back losses – first to Fremantle and then Sydney after a stunning 10-0 start to 2022.