Chris Dawes. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
Chris Dawes has promised to bring leadership and his A-game to resurrect Melbourne's fortunes after his move from Collingwood.
The 24-year-old premiership-winning forward was secured during last month's trade period, and joined his new teammates on Wednesday for the first time.
After a breakout 2010 in which he played in the Magpies' grand final victory, Dawes had struggled with injuries and confidence at Collingwood for much of the past 18 months.
When the Magpies secured West Coast's Quinten Lynch during the trade period, his chances appeared limited for next year.
Dawes believes Melbourne is the "best fit" for him, and is relishing the chance to build a strong forward partnership with Demon Mitch Clark as they spearhead the rebuilding club.
Dawes says Lynch's arrival was a factor in his decision to leave Collingwood, admitting he had struggled with the dual ruck-forward role Magpies' coach Nathan Buckley had asked him to play.
"The way it was communicated to me by Bucks was that they brought someone in to play that role that I wasn't able to play as well as they'd have hoped this year," Dawes said.
"For me, that (Lynch's arrival) was part of it, not the whole thing.
"A change of environment was good, being able to work alongside some of the young talent Melbourne has and the coaching they offer was a really attractive prospect."
Dawes believes his experiences at competition benchmarks Collingwood have armed him with the leadership skills to shape the young Demons' group.
He is also confident reuniting with head coach Mark Neeld - a former assistant at Collingwood - and ex-Magpies player turned Demons' assistant coach Leigh Brown will help his game.
"This environment, and working with Neeldy and Leigh Brown ... that's going to get me playing the football I'm capable of," Dawes said.
Neeld said Dawes was the strong, aggressive forward line target his team required, and brought a winner's mentality and insight.
"Dawesy was one of the players we had targeted. He's 24 - he's going to be playing AFL footy for a long time," Neeld said.
"He bolsters our experience across the board. It's rare someone of that calibre is on the move in trade week and, when they are, you've got to have a crack at them."