After going through the heartbreak and agony of missing playing in an AFL grand final, Mark Dawson is understandably well equipped for the highs and lows of what the racing game can serve up.

The former North Melbourne utility was left out of the 1975 grand final side that crushed Hawthorn after doubts lingered that his suspect hamstring would not stand up to the rigors of a 100 minutes of tough, uncompromising football.

However in the days leading up to game that saw more than 110,000 fans cram into the MCG, a proud Dawson told the hierarchy of the Kangaroos that not only was his hamstring in good shape, he would be greatly let down if he had to start on the bench.