AFL MONDAY: RAWLINGS CALLS FOR EXTRA TIME
Monday, 20 July, 2009
RAWLINGS CALLS EXTRX EXTRA TIME
Jade Rawlings (pictured), Richmond caretaker coach and self-confessed cricket tragic, could not resist comparing it to Australia's frustrating draw in the first Test against England, according to the Herald Sun. Mark Stevens reports that after watching his side blow a 43-point lead in the third term to draw with North Melbourne yesterday, Rawlings mused: "It's like the nine wickets Australia got in the (Cardiff) Test . . . you come away (feeling) pretty hollow." Rawlings said the result felt like a loss and went as far as to renew calls for extra time to split teams level on the siren. "I reckon it would be great . . . two minutes each way or first score," he said. "It would be gold. I would rather feel worse for losing or elated at winning than sitting there feeling nothing."
Rawlings' brother, Kangaroos midfielder Brady, perhaps summed it up best when he said only three people in the world would be happy with the result -- their mum, dad and sister. Tigers' head of football Craig Cameron, the key man in the club's coaching appointment, watched the drama unfold in his role as "box supervisor". And he would have been thrilled when Richmond shot out to its biggest lead of the game when Shane Edwards goaled eight minutes into the third term. But the Tigers could not muster another goal until Mitch Morton levelled the scores with 58 seconds left. The Tigers won the final centre clearance, but the Kangaroos won the ball and surged forward with David Hale seeming to take a legal chest mark 45m out. But Hale, who had forced his way to the front of opponent Jarrod Silvester, was penalised for holding.
Despite what appeared a lucky break, Rawlings and his players were left shattered. "You commit to it and then you get in a position to win, after having three losses against good opposition, and you don't, it's very, very unfortunate," Rawlings said. "That's the flattest I've seen the group. Today, they were devastated. It is unfair for our supporters and players themselves not to feel the buzz of winning. We should have won today."
North Melbourne coach Darren Crocker said the draw, the first of the season, was like a loss for his team after narrow defeats in consecutive weeks to the Western Bulldogs, Sydney and Hawthorn. "There's not much joy in draws, it's a pretty empty feeling," Crocker said. "When you've been where we've been over the last four weeks with the tight finishes and being in winnable positions in each of those games this feels like a loss because, again, we've let an opportunity slip to win a game. We were in a position to win."
HALE SAYS MARK WAS LEGITIMATE
David Hale says the mark he took with seconds left in the extraordinary draw with Richmond was legitimate, reports Sam Edmund of the Herald Sun. With the scores level and just 22 seconds remaining in a pulsating match at the MCG, Hale marked strongly in front of Tigers defender Jarrod Silvester on a slight angle inside 50m. Hale would almost certainly have registered a score that would have capped an amazing Kangaroos comeback, but in what was the last of several controversial decisions against both sides, the umpire ruled he had tugged Silvester's jumper to get front position. Silvester cleared the ball before the siren sounded to seal the first draw of the year. Hale felt he was unfairly denied the chance to win the Roos the game.
"Was it a mark? Obviously I thought it was a mark," Hale said. "I haven't seen a replay, but by all reports it was a 50-50 and it didn't go our way."
CRAIG ANOINTS NEW ST.KILDA BENCHMARK
While St Kilda coach Ross Lyon played down his team's defensive strangulation of Adelaide last night, Crows coach Neil Craig was able to suck in enough breath post match to label St Kilda the "new benchmark" in defensive pressure, according to Mark Robinson of the Herald Sun. He reports today that at one stage, Craig instructed his team to play tempo football in the second quarter as the game slipped away. "We needed to get hold of the footy, just to find out if it was a Sherrin or Faulkner," an exasperated Craig said. "Clearly there is St Kilda and Geelong. Then there is a gap."
Craig was joined by former Richmond coach Terry Wallace who described the unbeaten Saints as the "best pressure team defensively and offensively" he has seen in his 30 years in the AFL. The Saints kept the Crows to just 48 points for the match and a stunningly low 10 inside-50 entries during the second and third quarters, and won by 57 points.
But Lyon abandoned his traditional praise of his team's defence, preferring to highlight his team's attack and lament the lopsided preparation for Saturday night's blockbuster against the Western Bulldogs. He stressed several times his team had a six-day break, while the Bulldogs, having played on Friday night, will enjoy eight days' recuperation. "We've got a short break and me sitting here objectively, it's going to be really big ask," Lyon said. “I think we're going to be under real pressure in the running stakes because they're as strong a running team in the competition as there is. We've certainly noticed a change in the way they've played, the Bulldogs, defensively they are lot stronger and they are an incredibly big challenge. It's a real concern . . . they go in with a significant physical advantage, it's statistically proven."
Lyon admitted concerns in the lead-up to the Crows match and was proud of his team's response. "I was concerned coming here. I thought the Geelong game was really a game for tough players and tough teams and to fly to Subiaco was a big ask, on a big ground, and to fly back and come here for the last game of the round . . . it certainly is a credit to their preparation and drive," he said.
DOUBLE CONCERN ON KOZI
The Saints have a few concerns in the Round 17 clash with the Western Bulldogs, reports Mark Robinson, the main one being forward Justin Koschitzke who has two issues. He split webbing in hs left hand that forced him to sit out the last quarter, and a third-quarter incident in which he was late for a marking contest and collected Richard Douglas in the back of the head with a fist. He was not reported but the match review panel will look at it closely today.
SEWELL SAYS HAWKS HAVE ‘AGGRO’ BACK
Midfielder Brad Sewell says Hawthorn will be back in the premiership hunt if it can consistently replicate its form against Collingwood on Saturday night, reports Glen McFarlane of the Sunday Herald Sun. And teammate Jordan Lewis has revealed the Hawks sought "to get that aggression back into our game" to salvage their season. The Hawks produced arguably their best four-quarter performance of the season to end the Magpies' seven-game winning streak with a 45-point victory. One of the Hawks' best with 25 touches, Sewell said the challenge was to maintain that level of intensity. "We really need to put together some more four-quarter performances over the next few weeks," Sewell said. "For us to first of all get there (the finals), we need to maintain that form we showed in patches tonight. We have got a long way to go. We certainly haven't done ourselves any favours. We have got to have a really solid run home, but that's the brand of footy we need to play if we want to give ourselves a chance."
The Hawks face a tough month, with games against Geelong (MCG), Port Adelaide (away), St Kilda (Launceston) and Adelaide (MCG), but Sewell said Hawthorn was capable of beating anyone when on song. "We will get a quick gauge (of where the club is at)," Sewell said of Saturday's match against the Cats. "Obviously confidence is a massive thing in footy. It certainly dropped away in the first half of the year, but we are just starting to get the boys up and about again. The brand of footy we are slowly getting back to playing, if we can continue that, you just never know."
Lewis said the Hawks identified that they were being too reactive in a meeting after their 88-point loss to the Western Bulldogs two weeks ago. "We felt we had to . . . really concentrate on the way we want to play and the way we want to move the ball," Lewis told ABC radio. "It really gets back to enjoying our football, whereas earlier in the season we didn't seem to enjoy our football for some reason. But we can't dwell on the past and we look forward to the future, and it starts with Geelong this week."
KANGAROOS GIVE BUCKLEY SEVEN DAYS
North Melbourne president James Brayshaw expects Nathan Buckley to decide within a week whether he wants to coach the club next season, reports The Age. According to the paper, Brayshaw met with Buckley on Friday and said the club had agreed to the former Collingwood champion's financial terms if he signed on. "We've got a board meeting at the end of the month, we don't want to waste any more time," Brayshaw said on the Nine Network's Sunday Footy Show. "If Nathan doesn't want to coach senior footy, and that's absolutely fine, that's entirely up to him. We think there are some wonderful people lined up ready to do it."
Brayshaw said the Kangaroos had no issue about meeting Buckley's financial terms. "What his management said is, 'This is, if we do this, the amount of money we'd be looking at'. We've said to him, 'There's no problem with that, the money's not an issue'," he said.
SEASON OVER FOR RICHARDS
Sydney defender Ted Richards will miss the rest of the season after a lung was punctured in a clash with Brendan Fevola late in the match against Carlton on Saturday, reports Greg Denham of The Australian. Richards is expected to remain in hospital for several days and will have to be transported back to Sydney by road. He received broken ribs and bled internally following the collision in a marking contest also involving Craig Bolton. Swans' doctor Nathan Gibbs said yesterday: "He remained stable when he came off the ground and we didn't have to do an emergency chest decompression. We monitored him and got him straight to hospital where he had a chest drain inserted into his lung to reinflate the lung. He is now doing well and his lung was back to two-thirds it size within ten minutes of the drain being inserted."
SCANS FOR BRADSHAW, BRENNAN
Brisbane Lions pair Daniel Bradshaw and Jared Brennan will have scans today to determine how long they will be sidelined due to weekend injuries, according to AAP. Full-forward Bradshaw appears likely to miss several AFL matches after straining his right hamstring. Brennan, who was on crutches on Sunday, is an unlikely starter for Saturday night's Gabba clash with North Melbourne after spraining his left ankle. Both injuries were sustained during Saturday night's win over Fremantle at Subiaco.
LADSON FINISHED FOR THE YEAR
Hawthorn defender Rick Ladson will miss the rest of the season after having surgery on his right knee on Thursday, reports AAP. It continues a frustrating year for the premiership player, who was only three games into a comeback from a left-knee injury. The previous injury had sidelined him since the Hawks' 26-point victory over Geelong in last year's grand final. That was his 99th match and the injury and subsequent surgery had forced him to wait until round 13 to play his 100th. Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said Ladson's injury woes were unfortunate. "He's been a really durable player for us the previous three or four seasons and this season, for whatever reason, it's just blown up for him," he said. "Hopefully by having this surgery, he'll be able to have a full pre-season and get himself right for 2010."
In further bad news for the Hawks, defender Stuart Dew's comeback hopes for Saturday's blockbuster against Geelong are in doubt because of a suspected hamstring injury suffered in Box Hill Hawks' 23-point loss to Williamstown at Burbank Oval on Saturday. Dew, who was on return after missing a month with foot and quad injuries, was in best-on-ground form in the first half, kicking three goals from 10 disposals. Hawks football manager Mark Evans said Dew was taken off for precautionary reasons at half-time, but scans today will determine the extent of the damage. "He felt it tightening in the first quarter and played all through the second quarter and we didn't want to risk it after half-time," Evans said.
STADIUM FIGHT TO WORSEN
The festering relationship between Etihad Stadium managers and the AFL shows no signs of improving, reports AAP, with AFL chief Andrew Demetriou saying it was time the stadium's shareholders understood the seriousness of the stand-off because the ensuing stoush was "not going to be pretty". Demetriou said Etihad Stadium's "private ownership" was the root of the problem and its owners just wanted to "take and take". "You have to share the return with the people contributing to it," Demetriou said on BigPond. "I think the shareholders at Docklands don't get it yet and I think they need to get it pretty soon because unless there is a result it's not going to be pretty."
He said the MCG had shown the AFL some "goodwill" and was attempting to get the matter resolved. "They recognise football is delivering," he said. "(But) here at Docklands we have different issues which relate to private ownership wanting to take and take." Demetriou said a third AFL venue in Melbourne was not on the horizon so he hoped a new stadium deal could be arranged quickly and the issue finally put to bed.
REES LEADS GOLD COAST TO WIN
Ascintilating game from Bradley Rees spurred the Gold Coast towards a comfortable victory against Western in their TAC Cup clash at Carrara on Saturday, reports the Gold Coast Bulletin. The paper reports that GCFC coach Guy McKenna was singing the praises of his young midfielder yesterday, who was instrumental in his side's 18-17 (125) to 5-2 (32) win. "Brad was sensational from both an offensive and defensive point of view," said McKenna. "His tackling and intent was first class and his ability to hit bodies paved the way for us."
Maintaining their urgency over the four quarters, McKenna said the victory provided a great hitout for his under-18 team, who next weekend hit the road for a big clash against the side just above them on the ladder, North Ballarat Rebels. The Gold Coast sit fifth (30 points), and the Rebels are just two points clear.
The Coast kicked 12 second-half goals on Saturday as they streaked away to the 93-point win. "I was really happy we were able to maintain our intensity and hardness at the football," said McKenna. "And our ability to win the clearances after half-time was probably the most telling factor."
Matt Fowler, who kicked four goals, was another to impress McKenna along with Damien Steven and Alik Magin who booted three. "Obviously through some hard work the boys have put themselves in a position where we will now determine how far we go this season," he said. "This week presents itself with another challenge, we haven't done all that well on the road but we are in a good position where we can get the result this weekend."