Malthouse backs Tarrant to deliver - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Malthouse backs Tarrant to deliver

By Adam Cooper 14/04/2006 03:45:35 PM Comments (0)

When he is off the radar, Collingwood's Chris Tarrant sprays set shots like weekend golf hackers, but coach Mick Malthouse believes his full-forward would nail an AFL game-winning shot if ever it came his way again.

Tarrant's sporadic kicking was notoriously awry during the first half of last Sunday's win over Hawthorn, when his three missed set shots were lucky to register behinds.

Although many left-footers possess graceful kicking actions, Tarrant's style produces its share of slices and fades of equal proportion, and his career accuracy rate is just 57 per cent.

Tarrant did famously kick truly after the siren to beat Adelaide in a 2003 game, but Saturday marks exactly one year since he missed a last-minute shot, 45 degree angle 40 metres out, which would have beaten the Kangaroos. He missed, the Pies lost.

Malthouse believes Collingwood is well-stocked for players capable of kicking the hypothetical match-winner, and nominated Nathan Buckley, Ryan Lonie and James Clement as worthy candidates.

But he said he had no problem with the responsibility left to either one of his key forwards, Tarrant and Anthony Rocca, who can also be inconsistent in front of goal.

"I'd have no hesitation throwing the ball to Anthony or to Chris Tarrant if you said we've got to win the game in a shoot-out, I'd back them," Malthouse said ahead of Monday's game against the Kangaroos at Telstra Dome.

Tarrant was slightly hampered by a hand injury - the left one he guides the ball with - against the Hawks, but Malthouse said the issue was more between the ears.

"You can never say to a player `Get your confidence up'. How do you get your confidence up? Everyone wants to have their confidence up," he said.

"But we're anticipating Chris will kick goals. But we'll see with his first kick, his second kick what happens."

Rocca's career accuracy mark is only 58 per cent and he too has missed a costly shot in the dying minutes against the Kangaroos, in a game in 2001.

But he has nine goals from nine shots this season, and Malthouse said Rocca had worked hard on his conversion since injuring his Achilles last year against the Kangaroos.

"I hope he has and whatever he has done I hope he sticks to it," Malthouse said.

"Anthony's spent a lot of time on his goalkicking, a heck of a lot of time.

"Let's face it, he's had 12 months to think about it and I hope it persists for his sake."

Malthouse said the Kangaroos were always tough to beat, but that last year's narrow losses - by three points in round four and six points in round 19 - bore little relevance.

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