Chris Dawes will debut for Melbourne against Gold Coast
SEVEN weeks later than he hoped and anticipated, Chris Dawes will finally make his debut for Melbourne when they play Gold Coast at the MCG on Sunday evening.
The boom recruit from Collingwood, a member of that club's 2010 premiership side, hurt his hamstring during the NAB Cup and aggravated it again before the start of the season.
But two solid VFL outings leaves him ready to go on Sunday, and to add much-needed height and experience to the Melbourne forward line.
"We're happy to have 'Dawesy'," said Melbourne coach Mark Neeld, an assistant coach at Collingwood when Dawes was there. "We went hard at Chris in the trade period when we heard he might want to move on from the Pies.
"Having a tall and strong forward will help straighten us up."
Neeld said he could not fault his team's endeavour last week against Carlton, but there were clear structural issues that will be addressed by the inclusion of Dawes.Click here for all the round seven changes
"He'll have an impact in terms of Gold Coast will have to play a big bodied defender on him. We need him to play his role, but there are no expectations in terms of hitting the scoreboard.
"It's time for him to play senior footy because it's been a while."
There has been frustration for Dawes as he watched his new club start the season without him, but no regrets about leaving one of the premier clubs in the competition for one of the battlers.
"There is just a real sense of excitement that I'm about to make my debut for the club," he said on Thursday. "Coming to the footy club has had nothing to do with my body failing me a couple of times. "
"It's been frustrating not being out there, especially when there were patches in games where we weren't competitive.
"I look at turnaround in effort and consistency across the board in the last three or four weeks and it reaffirms my confidence that I've made the right choice in coming to a team that wants to improve."
The 24-year old forecast that he will bring "effort, leadership and physical presence," to the Demons, and jokingly made a prediction that made his coach do a double take.
"And I'll kick 10," he said with a laugh.