Neeld continues search for talent at Melbourne
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.
Melbourne coach Mark Neeld.