Neeld con­tin­ues search for tal­ent at Mel­bourne

Geelong Advertiser - - ADDY RACING - ROGER VAUGHAN

MEL­BOURNE will continue to be busy for the rest of the trade pe­riod af­ter land­ing Colling­wood key for­ward Chris Dawes to bol­ster its mis­fir­ing at­tack.

North Mel­bourne util­ity Cam Ped­er­sen and in­juryprone Essendon key for­ward Scott Gum­ble­ton are still in the Demons’ sights.

Mel­bourne has been the most ac­tive team through the free agency and trade pe­riod, re­cruit­ing Shan­non Byrnes from Gee­long and se­cur­ing young­sters Jack Viney, Jesse Ho­gan and Dom Barry. It lost Brent Moloney to Bris­bane through free agency, and Gee­long is court­ing de­fender Jared Rivers.

‘‘ There are a cou­ple of play­ers we’re keen to talk about and we’ll have those con­ver­sa­tions,’’ coach Mark Neeld said yes­ter­day.

‘‘There’s still a bit to go — in past (years), trade week hasn’t re­ally started yet.

‘‘The free agency com­pen­sa­tion, hope­fully the clubs will know that on Fri­day, if not Mon­day, and they spark a bit more move­ment.’’

Dawes will pair with Mitch Clark as Mel­bourne’s key for­wards. Neeld said the for­mer Mag­pie would not go into the ruck.

The Demons are talk­ing up Dawes’s long- term prospects, de­spite his in­con­sis­tent form this sea­son.

Colling­wood dropped him for Round 23 and he hurt his knee in the semi-fi­nal win.

The 24-year-old has played 71 games and Mel­bourne ex­pects him to reach the 200-game mile­stone.

Apart from his size and strength, Dawes also has played in a pre­mier­ship side.

It is no ac­ci­dent that the Demons have brought in Dawes and Byrnes, from the Cats, to give the team more ex­pe­ri­ence. ‘‘(Dawes is) 24, he’s a key po­si­tion player, he also brings with him a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence com­ing out of a good cul­ture,’’ said Neeld, a for­mer Colling­wood as­sis­tant coach and pre­mier­ship coach at Ocean Grove.

‘‘There’s a fair bit of that in it. Be­tween them (Dawes and Byrnes) there’s a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence out of great clubs and the knowl­edge to pass on to our boys about what it’s like to play at the pointy end.’’

Dawes de­cided to leave the Mag­pies af­ter they re­cruited key for­ward Quin­ten Lynch from West Coast.

‘‘We have a fair han­dle on the type of per­son he is and what he brings to our club,’’ Neeld said.

‘‘He’s re­ally se­ri­ous about his footy and he’s very in­tel­li­gent. He’s a very set­tled fel­low, he’s an ag­gres­sive trainer and he plays an ag­gres­sive brand of footy — which are all the things we want.’’

Mel­bourne gave up its No.20 and No.58 draft picks for Dawes, mean­ing the No.4 se­lec­tion is now their only live pres­ence inside the top 50, hav­ing al­ready pledged to use No. 26 on fa­ther- son se­lec­tion Viney.

Photo: MICHAEL DODGE

Mel­bourne coach Mark Neeld.

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