Fremantle defender Zac Dawson has set his sights on returning to full fitness within the next month, but his hopes of making the start of the AFL season don’t appear good.
Dawson’s topsy-turvy career will extend for a few more years yet after he re-signed with Fremantle until the end of 2017.
The 29-year-old has battled a lingering groin issue throughout the summer, and he’s almost certain to miss the season opener against Port Adelaide on April 5 while he builds up match fitness.
“It’s coming along slow and steady,” Dawson said.
“We’re aiming for another four weeks.
“Hopefully, without any other hiccups, I’ll be good to go early in the season.”
Dawson was playing just the fourth match of his AFL career when Collingwood spearhead Anthony Rocca took him to the cleaners with an eight-goal haul.
After four maligned years at Hawthorn, Dawson was de-listed before earning a reprieve under Ross Lyon at St Kilda.
Despite his occasional contributions to the blooper reel, Dawson played an important role in St Kilda’s surge to the 2009 and 2010 grand finals.
Dawson followed Lyon to the Dockers at the end of 2011, and after a shaky start in Perth, he has become one of the club’s most important defenders.
“Having such a good group and a great environment to live and play footy in is something that’s really important to me,” Dawson said.
“Feeling that I’m worth something and belong here is something that I treasure and I feel like I get that from all the guys and the administration and the coaches.”
Dawson has now played 141 games since making his debut in 2005.
And with Luke McPharlin almost certain to retire at the end of this year, Dawson’s retention was important for Fremantle to shore up their defence.
Dawson’s spoiling ability and reading of the play remain his key strengths, but his kicking ability remains his Achilles heel.