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Legendary name a Dunn deal

Peter Ryan  March 28, 2013 7:15 AM

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Lynden Dunn is set to play his 100th game against Port on Sunday

I can do things that other players might not be able to do but in the past I have tried to do some things that no-one can do and that is what got me into trouble
NORMALLY football stories don't start with the name of a player's son.
 
But given that Melbourne defender Lynden Dunn named his son Emmett when he was born two years ago without knowing he would therefore carry the name of the Tigers' 1980 premiership player and current tribunal member Emmett Dunne, the tale needs an airing on the eve of Dunn's 100th game.
 
After all, young Emmett is now eligible to play for the Demons under the father-son rule if he ever proves talented and interested enough to do so.
 
"I had no idea," Dunn said when asked whether he had heard of the former Tiger before naming his son.
 
The 'original' Emmett Dunne had a big chuckle when he first heard the news a couple of years back and rang the Demons CEO Cameron Schwab to find out the story behind it.
 
He was told the Demons' No.14 had not heard of the Tiger.
 
"He had no idea who I was, which was very disappointing for my ego," Dunne said, tongue firmly in the cheek. "[It's] a very, very smart name."
 
The two have never met but Dunn could not have inadvertently picked many better characters to name his son after than the policeman with a good sense of humour and, funnily enough, a prominent moustache.
 
Coincidentally 'Plod', as Dunne was known, was a flexible type, playing as a ruckman for much of his career before holding down the full-back position in the Tigers' premiership team.
 
Now, as Melbourne's Dunn passes his first major milestone, he appears more settled than ever in a career that has seen him play in virtually every position on the ground.
 
Since being given a chance to play as a defender after the bye last season, Dunn has made the position his to lose.
 
As a result his confidence has grown and his performances have improved.
 
He's never doubted his talent or whether he is good enough to play AFL but he concedes there were times last season when he wondered whether he would realise it at Melbourne.
 
He was coming out of contract and dealing with some issues in his personal life. When he took the field early in the season he was either playing as a sub, or in attack in a forwardline that was often starved of opportunities.
 
He did not complain but he knew he wasn't getting a chance to show his best.
 
But now, after a strong pre-season and a good enough finish to 2012 to finish 10th in the club best and fairest, Dunn finally appears capable of playing with the consistency one should expect from a player with his talent and experience.
 
"I think it is just about knowing myself and my capabilities and doing the basics really well," Dunn told AFL.com.au.
 
He said his experiences made him stronger as a person and allowed him to focus on little things.
 
That is something he has struggled to do throughout his career, his perception of what was possible sometimes outweighing what was achievable. He also tended to dwell on mistakes more than he needed to during a game.
 
Now he knows exactly what he needs to do to fulfill his role in the team.
 
"The game is so structured now, I have learned that you just have to play your role and if everyone else plays their role then you are going to win more games of footy than not," Dunn said.
 
With that realisation, Dunn could become a dynamic player down back. He is a good kick, has the strength to play on big forwards and can be creative enough to change the game.
 
In fact Dunn, is capable of doing the impossible occasionally and even he concedes his game carries a slight edge.
 
"I can do things that other players might not be able to do but in the past I have tried to do some things that no-one can do and that is what got me into trouble," Dunn said.
  
Now, performing his role within the team structure is his No.1 focus.
 
It will occupy his full attention once the moment he runs out with his son has passed and the vital clash against Port Adelaide begins.
 
"To run out with Emmett will be great," Dunn said.