Home » Blues, Dees teams named for blockbuster; Pies’ depth tested; Cousins responds to hall of fame snub

Blues, Dees teams named for blockbuster; Pies’ depth tested; Cousins responds to hall of fame snub

Williams was subbed out last week with a tight glute and won’t play despite briefly being on the track. The six-day break counts against Williams, who is yet to miss a game since returning from a knee reconstruction in opening round.

Martin was an integral part of the Blues’ revival in the second half of last year but, sidelined by a hamstring injury, has not played at any level this season.

Marchbank has not featured since injuring his back when concussed on Good Friday against North Melbourne.

Blues coach Michael Voss will wait until after training to finalise his 23 for Thursday night’s rematch of last year’s epic semi-final but is not worried by Martin’s lack of match practice, having gone through a conditioning block in the opening rounds.

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“Anyone we put out there we feel like that they’ve done enough of the work, the planning is very precise, and we’re able to expose them to a very much a game-like environment, and that gets them ready,” Voss said.

“If we feel like that they’re ready to go for the AFL it’s because we feel like they’ve got the adequate preparation to be able to get out there and get the job done.”

Voss said he could not fault the effort of spearhead Charlie Curnow, who was criticised by Essendon great Matthew Lloyd for not fighting hard enough when the chips were down.

“The strength is in our collective, that’s what I think, and I think he buys into that extremely well,” Voss said.

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“The role we ask him to play and the teammate we want him to be I’ve been nothing but impressed with how he’s been, how he’s approached that, and he knows as well as anybody that our success is off the back being able to get our forward line cohesion right, and our connection right, and he’s got a role within that.

“He’s got to be a competitor within that, but we are all searching for that extra level of consistency in what we do. And he’d be no different in that.”

Considered one of the leading premiership contenders this year, the Blues are at risk of falling out of the eight this round should they lose to the Dees.

They play ladder leader Sydney at the SCG next week.

Pies’ depth tested ahead of Mother’s Day clash at Marvel

Danny Russell

Collingwood powerhouse Jordan De Goey is expected to miss at least one more week as he battles to overcome the groin complaint that kept him out of the Magpies’ thrilling six-point win over Carlton.

Premiership teammate Brayden Maynard said De Goey had been unable to run out the week because of soreness.

“I don’t think he’s had this issue before,” Maynard said on Wednesday. “So it’ll be great to see him back in the next couple of weeks, hopefully.”

Brayden Maynard was joined by his mum, Donna, before the Pies’ Mother’s Day clash with West Coast.Credit: Chris Hopkins

Maynard was more confident that forward Jamie Elliott would overcome a back complaint in time to take on West Coast at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.

“I feel like he’ll be able to get up,” Maynard said. “He knows his body quite well.
“But if he doesn’t [play], there’ll be opportunities for other players to come up and fill his spot.”

Collingwood’s depth will be tested this week in a clash against the resurgent Eagles.

Midfielder Tom Mitchell will miss again after having his appendix removed, while the Magpies will also need to replace Brody Mihocek (hamstring) and the suspended Lachie Schultz.

“We have quite a few injuries coming out of the [Carlton] game,” Maynard said. “So it’ll be interesting to see what happens this week – there will be a lot of opportunities for the young boys.”

Hard nut Maynard showed his softer side on Wednesday when he was joined at the club by his mother, Donna, to make flower bouquets in preparation for Mother’s Day on Sunday.

“A few of the mums are here today, and to have them come in and watch us train and see how we go about our day-to-day life is something that means a lot to not only me but Mum,” Maynard said.

The defender’s mother said she would not be delivering any pre-game speeches to the playing group on Sunday, and would instead leave that to Beau McCreery’s mother, Julie.

The now 45-year-old retired in 2010 following a glittering career with West Coast and Richmond, which saw him become a premiership player, the 2005 Brownlow medallist, and a six-time All-Australian, but drug abuse and off-field behaviour issues marred his life in the years after his football career finished.

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Cousins has shown signs his health has improved in recent times, but character has become a consideration for hall of fame inductees.

West Coast have not officially nominated Cousins, but that is not mandatory for a player to be considered. Eagles chairman Paul Fitzpatrick told ABC radio on Saturday he thought Cousins should be in the hall.

Cousins told Mix FM in Perth on Wednesday that there was a high bar for entry to the hall of fame and he didn’t hold it against selectors if he wasn’t inducted.

“I don’t find myself thinking about this, you know, ever really,” Cousins said.

“It’s an honour that’s hard to come by and there’s been so many great players over the years, I wouldn’t be envious of the job of trying to only put in a limited few each year.”

Cousins added that he would support whoever the inductees are for this year.

“I totally understand their decision,” Cousins said of the selectors.

“I, like everybody else, will sit there and be looking forward to celebrate whoever gets in this year.

“That’s just the way it is – I’m sure there’s a number of things that come into play when making those tough decisions. I wouldn’t like to be in their shoes and, yeah, there’s no ill will or animosity from my end.”

Bulldogs ditch review to talk out their issues

Peter Ryan

The Western Bulldogs’ football staff and players met at St Kilda Sea Baths on Tuesday to thrash out the issues that have bedevilled their season rather than conducting a standard review of their loss to Hawthorn.

The meeting comes as pressure grows on the team to deliver on internal expectations, shared by the club’s top officials in the pre-season, that they would make the finals this season after an off-season review that led to significant changes to the football department and the coaching staff surrounding their coach, Luke Beveridge.

Marcus Bontempelli and Adam Treloar look dejected after the Bulldogs’ shock loss to the Hawks.

Marcus Bontempelli and Adam Treloar look dejected after the Bulldogs’ shock loss to the Hawks.Credit: AFL Photos

After a reasonable start to the season the club has lost four of its past five matches to sit 11th on the ladder with just three wins.

New football manager Matthew Egan, who joined the club from Geelong in the off-season, said their inconsistency so far was disappointing and discussions about what was happening needed to take precedence over watching vision, which would occur on Wednesday.

“We can be successful this year, there is no doubt about that,” Egan said on SEN. “We are definitely in to win this year and at the moment we still have some players who are trying to learn their position.”

Egan said the club didn’t make finals in 2023, so it was incumbent on the coaching staff to make changes to find the right blend that could drive them to success. He said some quality players such as Caleb Daniel were out of form and there were other players who were still adjusting to the system.

He praised the coach and said he was disappointed in the tone of some of the criticism directed at Beveridge, believing that some of the comments felt “aggressive and personal against ‘Bevo’” given his success at the club.

“I have been blown away with how aggressive some of the comments have been in the media about a guy who has been coaching 10 years at the footy club with a grand final win and obviously being in the grand final only three years ago,” Egan said.

“He has definitely got the energy up for sure. I have never seen a coach connect as well as I have with ‘Bevo’ with his players.

“His ability to story-tell and create a narrative week to week with the players is amazing. His attention to detail with how he connects one on one.”

Egan praised Beveridge’s willingness to speak directly to individual players about the reasons for his decisions and said his relationship with players was his “absolute weapon”.

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He said the pair had developed a bond and that bond allowed him to challenge Beveridge, and they were willing to engage in tough conversations because of their mutual respect.

“We have seen teams in this position and know we can turn it around,” Egan said.

Bulldogs midfielder Adam Treloar backed Egan’s comments, saying the players must shoulder the responsibility for their below-par performances this season.

The veteran midfielder, who crossed from Collingwood at the end of 2020, also said he loved playing under Beveridge, and poor execution of plans was costing the Bulldogs.

”We knew there was going to be a bit of pressure but as a playing group we wholeheartedly take responsibility for the performances we are putting out there,” Treloar said.

“The last two games clearly haven’t been up to scratch for us.”

Later on Wednesday, the Bulldogs confirmed a two-year contract extension for young star forward Jamarra Ugle-Hagan – keeping the 22-year-old at the Whitten Oval until at least the end of 2026.

‘We want Sam in the media’: Scott thrilled with Draper’s response

AAP

Essendon coach Brad Scott says Sam Draper couldn’t have responded better to his recent dressing-down as the ruckman appears no guarantee to return from injury against GWS.

Scott also dismissed reports a media ban had been placed on the charismatic ruckman after attracting ire for comments made about Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge on a podcast.

Essendon ruckman Sam Draper.

Essendon ruckman Sam Draper.Credit: AFL Photos

While imitating a journalist as part of a fun role play, Draper stated some Dogs players would request a trade at season’s end if Beveridge stays on as coach.

Beveridge described the comments as “bizarre” while his Bombers counterpart Scott said they were “disrespectful” and he’d let Draper know he was “really disappointed” in him.

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When asked how Draper, 25, had responded to his criticism, a grinning Scott said: “Like the gun he is.

“I love Sam, I love working with him. This is the opportunity that I see, as a coach of young men – you make a mistake and you learn from it and you acknowledge a mistake and move on.

“I’ve even had a briefing that we put a media ban on Sam – we haven’t put a media ban on Sam Draper.

“I mean, that would be doing a disservice to our fans and to all those little kids running around with mullets with No.2 on their Essendon jumper. We want Sam out in the media in public and representing our club.

“He had a misstep, he learned from it, we put a full stop on it, we’ve dealt with it as a club and as a team and now ‘Drapes’ more than anyone wants to move on.”

After missing last week’s win over West Coast with a knee injury, Scott said Draper’s selection depended on how he got through training. Draper had his leg strapped and looked proppy early in Wednesday’s training.

“That’s certainly our intention – to get him out and train and hopefully he feels really good,” Scott said. “But again, we need him to be very close to 100 per cent before we play him.

“It’s the knee that’s the issue – the previous [hip] surgery he had last year’s not the issue that’s keeping him out of playing.

“He’s just got what we hope is a relatively minor knee issue, but it’s a bit sore. And if he trains well, he’ll play. But if he’s not close to 100 per cent, he won’t.”

Jye Caldwell trained and is expected to face his former club on Saturday at Marvel Stadium despite being substituted out of the West Coast game with calf tightness. Young defender Zach Reid (hamstring) could return via the VFL.

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