Comets fans set to see red for Dawes
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
EVEN though tomorrow is his 300th club game for the Coffs Harbour Comets, Dion Dawes admits that he's a touch embarrassed by the attention that the milestone has created.
The club has organised a 'Sea of Red' day for tomorrow's Advocate Park clash against Orara Valley where all Comets supporters are asked to wear something red to show their support not only for the Comets, but also as a mark of respect for Dawes' contribution to the club.
"There's so many good first grade players out there that are screaming for publicity and it only seems to go to so few players," the 36 year-old said modestly ahead of his huge milestone.
"I just see myself as a very good reserve grader that's had the luck and the pleasure to have played a fair bit of first grade."
Dawes first walked into the club in 1987 as a member of the under 18s team and nearly 20 years later to the amazement of some he's still rolling up his sleeves on a Sunday afternoon.
The veteran has threatened that there's still another 50 games in him beyond this weekend but he thinks his father Max may be subconsciously giving him the wind-up call.
"When your grandmother starts to get old and you think you might be losing her, you go and visit her more often, well Dad's coming to watch me play football."
The son though has a word for his father and anyone else who thinks their about to see the last of the renowned Star Wars freak.
"I'll never retire and I've gone on record this year as saying that," he said.
"I'll just fade away now and to me Sunday will be like some sort of closure on my career publicly, but mentally who knows when it will be and I'll just fade away."
During the week, Dawes has taken the occasional stroll down memory lane and there were some names that continually bobbed up as influences on his career.
Ron Miller when he was a kid, his first first-grade coach Greg Crowe, hardman Wayne Taekata and a special place in Dawes' heart is held for the late Bob Muirhead.
It was him who took Dawes under his wing and showed him what being a forward was all about.
He modestly refers to himself as only a good reserve grader but Dawes believes that it's the 'reggies' who make a football club what it is.
"I've always been of the opinion that your first grade's there to win your club recognition,"
"I've found that most of the 'cards' in a football club come from reserve grade and if you've got a funny reserve grade side that's serious and can win matches, puts pressure on first grade and allows kids to come up then you've got a good club."
Hopefully Dawes's idea of a good club comes to the fore for him tomorrow and when he waves to the crowd, he's waving to a 'Sea of Red'.