Zaharakis to play for Bombers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Zaharakis to play for Bombers

By John Salvado 12/02/2009 02:21:03 PM Comments (0)

Teenager David Zaharakis will make his first appearance for Essendon in the AFL Bushfire Appeal match against the Western Bulldogs on Friday night, less than a week after the death of his former girlfriend in a traffic accident.

Zaharakis was named in an expanded 29-man squad, with Bombers football manager Paul Hamilton confirming on Thursday that the 18-year-old would debut against the Bulldogs before an expected capacity crowd in the pre-season Cup game at Telstra Dome.

It comes at the end of a difficult week for the midfielder, who is mourning the death of his ex-girlfriend Melanie Shuey.

The 17-year-old sister of West Coast recruit Luke Shuey died in Melbourne on Sunday morning after being hit by a motorbike while crossing a road.

"It's obviously something that's hard for anyone to go through, especially a young guy like Dave who has only just come to the club," teammate Jobe Watson said on Thursday.

"It was his ex-girlfriend, but he was obviously still in touch with her and they were pretty close.

"It's been a hard week, especially for him, and we've also got three (players recruited from Under-18 club) Northern Knights guys who knew the girl and the family.

"Dave is probably a bit unsure about where he is with his head a little bit.

"But I spoke to him before and he's keen to come out and play and really wants to go out and play well.

"It's something that he'll be able to look back on and maybe make him a stronger person for being able to get out there and run around."

The promising Zaharakis was selected by the Bombers at No.23 in the 2008 national draft.

Speaking ahead of the fundraising match at Telstra Dome, Watson said several Essendon players knew people personally affected by the devastating bushfires.

First-year draftee Michael Still has several friends from the affected areas, while the mother of midfielder Brent Stanton's girlfriend had a house in Kinglake, a town largely destroyed by the fires.

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