Collingwood can cover Dawes' absence - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Collingwood can cover Dawes' absence

By Roger Vaughan 06/07/2011 04:25:29 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood's formidable depth of talent means the AFL premiers have a ready-made solution for the loss of key forward Chris Dawes.

While Dawes will be missed as he takes a month to recover from hand surgery, Chris Tarrant can move from defence to fill the gap.

Tarrant's switch would then clear the way for 21-year-old Queenslander Lachlan Keeffe to finally make his senior debut, playing as a key defender.

"If he got his chance, he'd definitely be ready - he's been an emergency a fair few times this year and been playing good VFL footy," defender Alan Toovey said of Keeffe.

"So he's one of the guys that if a defender went forward, he'd be looked at."

Toovey admits to mixed feelings if Tarrant does change roles.

Tarrant originally made his name as a key forward, but has been a revelation over the past few seasons as a backman.

"He (Tarrant) kicked a few goals earlier in the season and he looked pretty pumped. He did get excited," Toovey said.

"But the way he's been playing down back, I hope he wouldn't go up there. It's been good playing next to him down deep in defence."

Keeffe would slot into a defence which remains arguably the best in the league.

While Nathan Brown is out for the season and Simon Prestigiacomo has retired, if anything, the defence has improved with the additions of Tarrant and Leon Davis and Ben Reid's ongoing development.

Geelong's upset loss to Essendon means the Cats only remain four points clear of Collingwood by virtue of having had one less bye.

The Magpies' premiership defence has so far been near-perfect and Toovey said the mood at the club is buoyant, but realistic.

"At the moment, we're travelling probably as well or maybe even better than last year," he said.

"We know we're good enough to win premierships and win finals and play in big games all the time - having that behind us is just a little bit extra.

"The mood in the group, everyone is excited. Everyone is not focusing on finals yet, but we're working on all the little bits (where) we can improve so when finals do come, we're definitely cherry ripe."

Collingwood play North Melbourne on Sunday and, while the Magpies will start firm favourites, Toovey said the Essendon win over Geelong shows no side should be taken lightly.

"We want to ensure we don't slip up (in) a game like this weekend against North. They're a good young team," he said.

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