Dawes to keep Watts in defence

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 17 Oktober 2012 | 14.43

Jack Watts is likely to spend more time in defence next season. Picture: Michael Klein Source: Herald Sun

Chris Dawes has been traded from Collingwood to Melbourne. Picture: Wayne Ludbey. Source: Herald Sun

NEW Melbourne signing Chris Dawes will play as a second tall target option to Mitch Clark.

Coach Mark Neeld said the pair had been recruited specifically as the cornerstones of the Demons' forward set-up.

And there could be more tall forwards to come as Neeld said the Demons would continue to talk with possible trade targets Scott Gumbleton and Cameron Pederson, but would be unlikely to recruit both.

He said the arrival of Dawes - picked up in a trade deal with Collingwood that cost the Demons picks 20 and 45 in the draft - was likely to see Jack Watts spending more time in defence.

"It's terrific for Mitch Clark (recruited from Brisbane last season) and the rest of the team to have a second big body down there,'' Neeld said today.

"Dawesy has been brought in to play as a key forward. He won't be doing the 'key forward who goes into the ruck' role with us. We think he's really suited to play as a key forward.''

Neeld said the young Demons will benefit from the premiership experience of Dawes and Geelong forward Shannon Byrnes.

"We talk about the long-term aspect that Chris brings to the club. He's 24 and he also brings a lot of experience coming out of a good culture, the way the Pies go about it, the way they play and the way they train,'' he said.

"He has also managed to play in the last five finals series. Include the drawn Grand Final, he has played in three Grand Finals and cracked it for a flag. We're certainly not underestimated what that brings to our group.

"And we've added Shannon Byrnes as well. Between them, there's a lot of experience at great clubs and the knowledge they can pass on to our boys of what it's like to play at the pointy end.''

Department of Trades

Neeld and assistant coach Leigh Brown, both key members of Collingwood's 2010 premiership, had a chat at Dawes' home recently to convince him that his future was with Melbourne.

"We've got a fair handle on the type of person he is and what he brings to our club,'' the coach said.

"I would describe Dawesy as a really solid citizen. He's very serious about his footy, he's very intelligent, he's studying law off the field. He's an aggressive trainer and plays an aggressive brand of footy. All the things that he wants.

"We did all those medical checks that you need to do (on Dawes' knee). He's already running, so he's over that. He has done the little bit of rehab that you need to do.''

Neeld said the inclusion of Dawes and Clark's recovery from an ankle injury will allow them to continue to develop Watts as part of the backline set-up.

And he's confident the Demons have the midfield to get quick and clean delivery to the big forwards.

"Mitch wasn't playing and we had half our backline playing in the forward line for various reasons,'' Neeld said.

"For the boys in the midfield, like (Jack) Grimes and (Jack) Trengove and (Nathan) Jones, to look up and see two big targets, that's the way we want to play.''

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