Melbourne captain Max Gawn is confident his premiership teammate Luke Jackson will knock back a huge offer to join Fremantle, declaring the young ruckman was the “happiest person out there” after the Demons took down the Dockers last Friday night.
Jackson, who is from Perth, has put off contract talks until the end of the season amid rampant speculation he’s headed back to Western Australia, and the Dockers, on a monster deal.
Local fans taunted the Melbourne players last Friday night by hanging a Fremantle jersey with “Jackson” written on it over the race. The jersey was snatched and then thrown away by Jackson’s teammate Jake Melksham.
On Monday, Gawn conceded his opinion was going against the grain of what most were saying about Jackson, but he thought the 20-year-old would remain at the Demons.
“Luke’s a talent and he’s got every right, as every player does, to look at any offer that’s coming his way,” Gawn told reporters on Monday.
“I’m pretty confident he’s going to be a Melbourne player still and I know that’s very far from what the consensus is out in the media.
“He was the happiest person I’ve ever seen (last Friday night) beating Fremantle, who is the team that he’s supposed to be going to.
“He seemed the happiest person out there.”
Jackson was the center of attention from the moment he touched down in Perth last week, but Gawn joked the youngster was the “best character” to handle it.
“I actually think he doesn’t know he’s out of contract,” Gawn said.
“That little bit helps him. He does n’t read anything, he does n’t look at anything, he just continues on his merry way and I think his performances by him are showing that.
“If you go out there and watch him, he doesn’t look like he’s over-thinking. He’s just out there playing football.”
Last week, Melbourne re-signed midfield star Angus Brayshaw to a six-year deal having also secured best and fairest Clayton Oliver on an on long-term contract.
Jackson, however, remains the No.1 priority and Gawn said he was hopeful of continuing to build on the partnership they had formed, on and off the field, since the youngster arrived at the Demons in the 2019 draft.
“I love playing with him, I love being his leader, I love being his friend, I love coaching him and I love seeing little bits that I’ve told him during the week come out on game day,” Gawn said.
“I’m really excited, especially for the next seven weeks, to play with Luke and then hopefully for the next few years.”