AFL news: Melbourne ruckman Luke Jackson has been compared to Collingwood star Brodie Grundy

He hasn’t even played 20 AFL games, but rookie Melbourne ruckman Luke Jackson has already been compared to one of the best big men in the game.

He’s only played 17 games, but rising Melbourne star Luke Jackson has been compared to Collingwood gun Brodie Grundy for the sudden and stunning sudden impact he has made on the Demons and the AFL.

Melbourne captain Max Gawn, who called Jackson his “apprentice”, made the comparison ahead of a Queen’s Birthday showdown next Monday with the Magpies, who could yet be without their superstar big man.

Jackson, who is only 19, has missed just one game this season and his contribution to the Demons’ 11-1 record has been so telling, even Gawn missed him in that match.

“I don’t know many 19-year-old rucks who have had as much of an impact. Probably Brodie Grundy came on to the scene pretty quickly,” Gawn said on Tuesday.

“I couldn’t imagine myself playing that sort of football when I was his age. He’s got a long way to go, but you can see what he brings, that athleticism, that follow-up, being able to get the ball going forward for us.

“By his own admission he probably wants to clunk a few more up forward and kick a few more goals. He’ll get better at his ruck craft, better at his marking. That will come with games, a bit of training with me and Greg Stafford.”

Grundy is unlikely to play on Monday after suffering a neck injury in Collingwood’s Round 11 loss to Geelong, which was expected to sideline him for up to three weeks.

Gawn said his absence didn’t mean anything would change in his blossoming working relationship with Jackson, which has helped propel the Demons to the top of the ladder.

“I don’t think much will change. Jacko and I have a pretty good relationship in how we switch and it’s not really written down, it’s a feel of the game at certain times,” Gawn said.

“To be honest, Luke would probably be a really good match-up at times for Brodie. Sometimes I am cooked and I need him in there. We have a bit more flexibility rather than a strict time.

“It’s much easier having him in the team. That one week he wasn’t there, I noticed it.”

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