AFL Round 13: Collingwood v Fremantle: Rufus nickname goes out the back Dawes

By Andrew Fithall

“Rufus” is the nickname I have been trying to apply to Collingwood’s Chris Dawes for some time. Mind you, I haven’t been trying very hard. My biggest effort was a couple of seasons ago when Collingwood was still aligned with Williamstown and Rufus was running around at Burbank Oval. A friend Jason was the club doctor for the Seagulls so I tried to enlist his help. I explained the rationale for the nickname and asked him to have a word to a few of Dawes’ teammates. Jason wasn’t any help. He said that Dawes already had a couple of nicknames (I don’t believe “Dawesy” actually qualifies as a legitimate nickname, but then I am not close to the group), and that he (Jason) never read anything other than sports books.

My only other efforts have been when actually watching Chris Dawes play, which since Williamstown and Collingwood divorced, has not been very often. The couple of occasions when I have been in attendance at a Dawes game, and have audibly sounded “Rufus” when Dawes has been in possession, has coincided with whomever of my children were close by giving me an embarrassed glare and moving far enough away so no-one could surmise that they had any connection with me.

Following Collingwood’s win against the Swans, it was surprising to see the number of unforced changes made to the selected Collingwood side. And for the first time in 2009, Chris Dawes was named. At last, maybe I could get some momentum into this nickname drive. A Saturday afternoon game at the MCG against the Fremantle Dockers means that you could delay your arrival until the start time and still get a good seat on the wing. While the girls went off to meet their netball obligations, Bill and Herb and a friend of Bill’s, Robert, joined me to watch the Pies.

Being a Bulldogs supporter, Robert was fairly ambivalent to the game’s outcome. Having been briefed on the afternoon’s nominal objective, he pledged his support. All we needed were a few early and key Chris Dawes contributions, a call in unison of “Rufus”, and we would be away. No doubt, neighbouring supporters would pick up on this sparkling innovation, and pretty soon, the contagion would spread. Once it reached the cheer squad a quarter of the ground away, there would be no stopping it.

The plan was perfect, except for one factor – the dependence on the Dawes contributions. A post-match review of statistics shows 11 possessions including five kicks, two of which were goals. Without reference to more detail, I can tell you with confidence that none of them came early. In a team that won by 84 points, Dawes was probably the least effective player. Which puts him behind even Shannon Cox. By the time, late in the game, those two goals did eventuate, the first from his (probably) only contested ball win for the afternoon, when he “outpaced” Sandilands to run into goal, I had lost all enthusiasm for the task.

When the selectors put together the side for the Friday night battle against the Bombers, I fear the name Dawes will be in the list of omissions. And given his poor performance against Fremantle, I fear it could be for the term of his natural life.

About Andrew Fithall

Probably the most rational, level-headed Collingwood supporter in existence. Not a lot of competition mind you.


  1. danielle says

    That’s an interesting nickname.
    But Dawes doesn’t really look like a ‘Rufus’.
    My nick name for Jack Anthony is ‘SUPERMAN’
    Notice that he flys up at the ball and extends his strong hands.
    Then you have Dale who is called ‘daisy’ or the ‘mop’ that also makes sense.
    I dunno , but if Dawes is playing the next time I go to the footy ill give him a “GO RUFUS!” and see his reaction.

  2. I hope two key factors of the story never occur.
    1. Chris “Sweaty Pants” Dawes getting known as RUFUS.
    A mate and I have dubbed him Sweaty Pants very early on in the peice. No specific reason, other than there aren’t enough Sweaty Pants’ running around in the AFL.

    2. Sweaty Pants omitted for the term of his natural life.
    Perhaps the disease that causes Fremantle to remain limp and uncompetitive more than a decade after their inclusion to the league is a contageous disease that affects one Collingwood player each encounter. I remember Leon Davis having a crap game at Docklands one Monday night, and even missing from the goal square. I am glad we persisted with him. I also hope the same persistence is paid to Sweaty Pants.

  3. Andrew Fithall says

    I think I was a little too obtuse in my article. Rufus Dawes was the central character in the 19th century iconic Australian novel, “For the Term of His Natural Life” written by Marcus Clarke. One irony was that with Dawes’ inclusion last week, Clarke was omitted. As for last night’s dropping of Dawes from the Collingwood team, I am a Dawes fan and I hope it is not for the term of his natural life.

  4. Ricky Vespa says

    I am the mate of chimpy who first coined the name ‘Sweaty Pants Dawes’ for big Chris Dawes. I can’t remember how this name came about but it was born as a cabin fever response caused by extended periods of boredom whilst at work.
    I think the ‘Sweaty Pants Dawes’ nickname should be the name that stick because:
    -it was thought of at least 12 months ago by chimpy and I,
    -it’s unique nickname,
    -and cause it is way funnier and obscure than Rufus.

    I predict Sweaty Pants will kick 10 the next time he plays in the senior.

    Go Sweaty Pants!!!

  5. Ripsnorter says

    Like the Rufus nickname maybe could become more obscure and link that name to the famous horse Rufus Youngblood and call Dawes “youngblood” which would have a direct link to Rob Lowe also a very keen and passionate Collingwood supporter – just a thought. On a more serious note I believe we need to be playing Dawes more often – maybe for Leigh Brown – as needs time in the ones to adjust to speed of the game – skills definately not an issue. Should also be trying him in the ruck more in the twos as would need to put this into his game as well.

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