Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Demons get their dog

Melbourne footballers Shannon Byrnes and Jack Watts yesterday visited breeder Carl McGrath to buy a greyhound pup for themselves and a few teammates.

GREGOR MACTAGGART August 7, 2014 3:05am

Melbourne duo Shannon Byrnes and Jack Watts are all smiles after selecting their new greyhound pup to race. They travelled to Shepparton to select the potential chaser, bred by Carl McGrath.

Melbourne stars Jack Watts and Shannon Byrnes visited Shepparton yesterday for the first stage of a greyhound journey they hope will climax in success.

The pair, along with Demons teammates James Frawley, Luke Tapscott, Jack Trengove, Lynden Dunn and Max Gawn, have formed a syndicate to race a chaser and called upon renowned local breeder Carl McGrath to help them find a future star.

‘‘We had a lot of spa conversations about what we can do together outside of footy and racing a greyhound came up,’’ Byrnes said.

‘‘It’s a good breeding ground these parts, so hopefully we’ll find the next champion.’’

Watts called on good friend Nick Quinn, who with the assistance of Greyhound Racing Victoria, steered the Melbourne players in the direction of McGrath.

He was on hand to offer his insight to Watts and Byrnes before the two picked out their new charge from a litter of active 14-week-old pups.

‘‘How many are we getting, I want to get them all,’’ Watts said.

With Byrnes on crutches due to an ankle injury, it was up to Watts to test out the running capabilities of the pups in the yard.

‘‘We’re not too sure on the selection process, but there’s a few with a lot of energy,’’ Byrnes said.

‘‘Jack and I were speaking about what type of pup we would like on the way up here and there’s a clear front-runner.’’

The litter by Cape Hawk out of classy race bitch Proven Que Tee, has already attracted strong interest from potential owners across Victoria and interstate.

But Watts and Byrnes were given the first choice and eventually settled on the ‘‘front-runner’’, a precocious black pup with white feet.

‘‘He feels like a champion,’’ Watts said while holding the new member of the Demons’ army.

So how about a name?

‘‘We’ve come up with Watts Byrneing,’’ Byrnes said.

Watts then chimed in.

‘‘We’re the only two boys that made the trip up, so we reckon the naming rights fell to us,’’ Watts said.

‘‘But all of us are getting together for a dinner to have the final say on a name.’’

The mail is Demon will be the pup’s kennel name, who will go through a breaking-in process at McGrath’s property before being transferred to a trainer for his racing career.

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