Grant's 'Roos spot secure under Laidley - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Grant's 'Roos spot secure under Laidley

By Leonard Siragusa 11/06/2008 03:14:11 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne coach Dean Laidley has given veteran Shannon Grant his unconditional support, granting him a permanent spot in the AFL team regardless of his form.

Grant has been in indifferent form over past six weeks and has not had anywhere near his usual impact in games.

The former All-Australian could only manage six touches against Sydney in round six, was kept to 13 possessions against Brisbane and Geelong in the past two weeks and has kicked just 14 goals in 11 matches.

Laidley conceded the 31-year-old Grant, who is just nine games short of joining the 300 club, was underperforming.

But in a resounding vote of confidence, Laidley said the 1999 premiership star's spot in the team was safe forever while he was at the helm of the Roos.

"Shannon Grant will never play in the VFL while I'm coach, regardless of form," Laidley said.

"Shannon's form has been reasonable but our expectation is probably a little bit higher than he's been giving us.

"He's work with (Lindsay Thomas and Matthew Campbell) with their development which is fantastic but you've still got to make sure you're performing.'

But forward Corey Jones will not be cut as much slack with his impending return from an ankle injury.

Laidley flagged the possibility of Jones returning through the VFL this week should he prove his fitness at training.

Jones, who was the club's leading goal-kicker last year with 46, struggled in the month prior to his breather last week, booting one goal in each of the four matches.

"He had that injury last year, he had no pre-season," Laidley said.

"He came in, his form was reasonable but it certainly has dropped off a little bit so we decided to rest him last week because of his foot and ankle.

"He'll train and our medicos will decide whether he's fit to play firsts, then we'll decide whether we'll bring him straight back into the side or whether, (after) our forward line performed particularly well last week, he can go back and play in the VFL."

Laidley said fellow forward Nathan Thompson (knee) was a good chance of resuming this Saturday against Fremantle at Subiaco but declared midfielder Daniel Wells (knee) a certain starter against the Dockers.

While he said Wells would take time to regain his touch after a two-week absence, Laidley admitted his inclusion made his team more damaging.

Although the Kangaroos have beaten the Dockers in Perth in three of their past four meetings, Laidley said Fremantle would offer a new challenge following changes to coaching and player personnel.

And he responded in kind to claims the Dockers were "dangerous" despite their 1-10 win-loss record.

"We're pretty dangerous ourselves the way we're playing," Laidley said.

"With our youthful exuberance I think that's fantastic and we'll go out there all guns blazing as we did last weekend."

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