The Chris Dawes conundrum
Collingwood's Chris Dawes hurting (Slattery Images)
Much has been written recently about how many clubs are in the running for Chris Dawes’ services. The Western Bulldogs, Melbourne, even Brisbane are rumoured to be bidding for the young forward.
But, as a Collingwood supporter and AFL fan, I can’t help wondering why Dawes wants to leave. More importantly, I don’t understand why Collingwood aren’t fighting tooth and nail to keep him.
Perhaps they are and I’m not seeing it but I get the sense that, if the deal can be done, they’ll do it.
Dawes played admirably through 2010 and 2011 with Leigh Brown playing the utility ruck/forward roll. Admittedly, the experiment of playing Dawes through the ruck this year failed in more than one sense.
First, he can’t play both. He’s a forward only. Second, Travis Cloke had to play much deeper and be more focal, a concept he seemed to struggle with for much of the season.
With Quinten Lynch secured, I fully expected Dawes to stay and move back to his old position of second forward option. Lynch would take over the utility ruck roll, which he is much better at than Dawes, and that would be that.
If Dawes felt so threatened by a Brown-type player, why was this not made clear during or after the 2010 or 2011 campaigns? Dawes is a young guy and has a bright future in football ahead of him.
Lynch is ageing but is a good fit for Collingwood right now, as he is still playing some decent footy and Collingwood should be able to milk the last couple of good years out of him.
If you combined the two, you would have a very similar situation to what Collingwood had back in 2010-11, years where they played in three grand finals going 1-1-1.
Lynch would play the pinch-hit ruckman, while Jolly was resting on the bench and then would fill in down back or up forward when needed. This would allow Dawes to push deeper to the goal square and allow Cloke to roam further up the ground that he put to such great use during those years.
It would also mean that Collingwood would give Cloke more spells on the bench when needed.
The other issue for Dawes to consider is that he will be leaving a club that has at least two more years of contending for a premiership (possibly and hopefully more) for a club that is unlikely to win one in the next 2-3 years.
Certainly Melbourne is still a long way from playing finals, let alone winning a flag. The Bulldogs aren’t much better. Brisbane may play finals next year if they continue to improve but are unlikely to contend for a flag for a couple of years as well.
Hence, I’m unsure why Dawes is so keen to move. Surely the temptation of a premiership in the near-future (which would boost his value to other clubs anyway) far outweighs any better contract he’s going to get from a rival club.
Moreover, if he really feels threatened by Lynch, perhaps the club does not believe he is as strong, or as highly-valued, as he is perceived in the market?
Which begs the question: why would Dawes go?