How does Jordan Dawson shift the magnets at Adelaide? After a breakout season, he will likely be a walk-up start in its best 22. The question is: where?
One of the most promising young players seeking a new home this trade period, Adelaide has secured the services of Dawson from the Sydney Swans in exchange for a 2022 first-round pick (tied to Melbourne).
Dawson played 64 games for the Swans before returning home to South Australia and joining the Crows.
After the bye, Dawson moved to the wing and averaged 23.5 disposals and 7.1 marks from the bye to the end of the season.
In Round 20 against Essendon, Dawson had 11 marks to go with 24 disposals, including five contested. Dawson’s last round of the season against Gold Coast saw him register 16 marks to go with 33 disposals and a goal.
Dawson’s marking capabilities are something that Adelaide will get great use out of. No Adelaide player had more than 10 marks twice this season, and Adelaide was ranked last for marks overall – averaging 79.9 a game. Dawson had 126 for the year, more than anyone at Adelaide in 2021.
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Adelaide is not hurting for marking capabilities on the wing. The Crows’ two prominent wingmen, Paul Seedsman and Brodie Smith, ranked one and two for marks at Adelaide in 2021.
Dawson’s move to the wing also showcased his goal-kicking capabilities. He scored multiple goals three times and finished with nine in the last half of the year after none in the first half. His nine goals were more than Smith, with two but less than Seedsman, with 12.
Dawson’s marking capabilities may very well be used in defence. Standing 192cm tall, Dawson could work as a tall option there.
Having started the 2021 season on the half-back line, Dawson may find himself back there in 2022, where he can also use his laser left foot to devastating effect.
Dawson was above average for his position across all stats as a medium defender in 2021 which is good timing for the Crows, who are lacking depth in defence.
Smith, who is ranked as a medium defender, spent most of the year as a wingman. Jake Kelly has since moved to Essendon, while Luke Brown fell out of favour towards the end of the year.
This leaves a spot available for Dawson, who can not only help Adelaide with marks in the backline, but also rebound 50s. Dawson averaged just under five (4.91) for the year.
So where does he go?
Dawson’s stint on the wing saw him among the highest-rated players in the league after the bye.
Seedsman and Smith have the runs on the board, however, and may have those wing spots locked down for now. With both of them turning 30 in 2022, that may open the door for Dawson to inject some more youth in the Adelaide midfield next season, with Lachlan Sholl also coming through.
Dawson can also turn his attention to the position he started at in 2021, the half-back line, and continue his growth at West Lakes from there.
Aged just 24, and reaching his prime, this is a move that should pay immediate dividends for the developing Crows side, wherever he goes on the field.
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