Gardiner looms as Eagles' AFL X-factor - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gardiner looms as Eagles' AFL X-factor

By Roger Vaughan 18/09/2005 08:16:46 PM Comments (0)

The foot injury that plagued West Coast forward Michael Gardiner this season is no longer an issue for him ahead of Saturday's AFL grand final.

Gardiner looms as the X-factor for the premiership decider against Sydney.

The big-marking forward is yet to hit top form since resuming from injury in round 22, but he would only need a purple patch lasting a few minutes to blow the game apart with a brace of goals.

Gardiner certainly went for several pack marks in Saturday's 16-point preliminary final win over Adelaide, largely without success.

"I personally don't think my foot is an issue, it won't be an issue this Saturday," he said.

"In previous games, it was pretty sore, but it's fine now.

"I definitely needed the hitout yesterday and benefitted a lot from it.

"I will go into the grand final really confident that I can be close to somewhat my best."

Gardiner has played only 11 games this season and had a five-game absence until round 22.

The Eagles have nursed him through the past few weeks in an effort to ensure no injury recurrences.

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