Tuesday, 3 July 2012
Collingwood key forward Chris Dawes says he is probably the only player not pulling his weight at the top-placed AFL club.
The 24-year-old says on performance alone he deserves to be dropped.
But the fact that he fills a forward-ruckman role that no other Magpie can is keeping him in the side.
"The way we've been able to win the last 10 on the trot is because nearly every player on our list has played above average," Dawes told reporters on Tuesday.
"I'm probably the one exception to that.
"The fact that we have been able to compete despite not having a number of first-choice players out there shows they can cover for me not performing and it's about time I start pulling my weight."
Dawes has kicked just seven goals in 12 games so far this season, well down on his previous career rate.
He has spent some time supporting Darren Jolly in the ruck, but said with 80 per cent of his gametime still as a forward he needed to do his main job better.
Asked if he felt lucky to have kept his spot, Dawes said: "If you say that a player's put in as many as what I would consider below average performances as I have, certainly."
But he said he was at least providing a contest in attack and allowing Jolly to play as the lone fulltime ruckman.
The Magpies could be significantly strengthened for Friday night's MCG clash with Carlton, with Scott Pendlebury, Alan Didak and Chris Tarrant all rated a strong chance to return from injury.
Dawes said Collingwood would not underestimate the Blues, who are on a four-game losing streak, but thrashed the Magpies in round three, Collingwood's most recent loss.
Dawes said the disappointment of that defeat had driven Collingwood's improvement since and would motivate them in the rematch.
"Certainly the players who played in that round three match, we weren't happy with the performance we put in that night and can use this as a bit of a chance for redemption," he said.
Carlton's Andrew Carrazzo said Blues fullback Michael Jamison was expected to play against Collingwood, despite injuring his shoulder against Hawthorn last Friday night.
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