Solomon gets mushy ahead of milestone - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Solomon gets mushy ahead of milestone

By Justin Chadwick 28/05/2009 02:16:12 PM Comments (0)

Tough man. Hard nut. Enforcer. Call him what you want, but Fremantle veteran Dean Solomon insists he's actually a softy at heart.

Solomon, a 2000 premiership player with Essendon who made the move west at the start of 2007, will notch his 200th AFL game when he lines up in Saturday's clash with Richmond at Subiaco Oval.

While often praised, and sometimes criticised, for his full-throttle attack on the ball and man, Solomon is somewhat uncomfortable with the reputation he has gained.

"It doesn't sit that well - hard man, tough man," Solomon says.

"If anyone knows me personally, I'm a pretty soft guy.

"I just play footy the only way I know how to play, and that's just see the ball and try to get the ball.

"Obviously there's a lot of impact sometimes in that style of play.

"I've made mistakes in the past.

"I do play football because I love the physicality of it.

"But I understand the game is changing and you have to be wary of what you do and how you approach those situations and I'm forever learning."

When Solomon speaks about past 'mistakes', there's one that stands out in particular.

His vicious elbow on Geelong's Cameron Ling last year still irks him to this day.

That moment of madness cost Solomon eight weeks on the sidelines, not to mention considerable grief as his name was dragged through the mud.

"It's one of the things I most regret about my football career and it's going to stick with me forever," Solomon says.

"I apologised on that day and was quite upset about it.

"It did make me sit down and made me realise it was a stupid act at the time. I didn't mean to do what I did.

"Cameron and myself made contact through text messages.

"He made it clear there were no hard feelings.

"It's something I regret but I've moved on from it."

At 29 years of age and out of contract at the end of this season, Solomon knows 2009 could be his last - although he hopes it's not.

"I totally understand where this club is at, with a lot of young kids here now," he says.

"If I was going to stand in the way of a young kid having an opportunity at the end of the year I wouldn't want to do that, I'd be happy to leave the game.

"But I feel that I'm holding my own in the side.

"Being an older guy with a bit of experience, and a bigger body sort of guy, it helps those young guys develop a little bit quicker."

Solomon was gutted when, after nine years, one premiership and 158 games at Essendon, he was told his services were no longer required.

But his move to Fremantle, along with former Pie and good mate Chris Tarrant, turned out to be a blessing in disguise, with Solomon thriving in his new environment.

"At the time I wasn't too keen to move but understood the direction they were heading in," Solomon says.

"I was overseas at the time, in the coast of France having a surf.

"It was a bit of a shock, jumping on that plane to come back.

"You arrive home and get in your house and start packing your boxes and before you know it you're over in Perth.

"I'm very grateful for the opportunities I've been given."

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