Dawson forever in Lyon's debt

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 23 April 2013 | 12.50

Fremantle defender Zac Dawson will play his 100th AFL match this weekend. Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: Herald Sun

IF it wasn't for Ross Lyon, Zac Dawson wouldn't be playing his 100th AFL game on Friday night.

Lyon, then St Kilda coach, threw Dawson an AFL lifeline via the rookie list in late 2008 when the maligned defender was delisted by Hawthorn, having managed just 18 games in four years with the Hawks.

Dawson found a second coming at the Saints under Lyon, playing 63 games in three seasons, including a key defensive role in St Kilda's three grand finals in 2009 and 2010 (twice).

So it was no surprise when Lyon defected to Fremantle in late 2011 that Dawson was keen to join him at the Dockers.

"Obviously he kind of got me off the scrap heap at St Kilda," Dawson said.

"I could say I could've done it without him, but I probably couldn't have because he's obviously seen something in me.

"We have a pretty good relationship and that's something you've got to try and hold on to when you get into this caper.

"So it's probably a lot to do with him."

Now in his 10th AFL season, Dawson said there was a time when he didn't think he would reach 100 games as he battled to win over both coaches and fans.

"My first five years at the Hawks was probably pretty slow and I didn't make too much progress, but the last five years has been a real bit of a whirlwind journey, playing in a few grand finals and obviously not getting over the line," he said.

"It's been a really great experience and coming over here the last couple of years it's been really exciting and I've settled in really well.

"Obviously you don't really think about the 100 games too much but once it's all done and dusted you'll look back and be proud of it."

Veteran defender Luke McPharlin (concussion) is set to return for Dawson's milestone match against Richmond at Patersons Stadium.

The Tigers (3-1) suffered their first loss of the season to Collingwood on Sunday and will be looking to bounce back against a Fremantle side desperate to avoid a third straight defeat.

"They're playing a pretty exciting brand of footy this year," Dawson said of the Tigers.

"We'll be looking at them all week, trying to find a way to beat them.

"It's going to be an exciting game on Friday night and we'll be ready."

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