Lloyd can still influence games: Knights - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lloyd can still influence games: Knights

By Adam Cooper 14/06/2008 12:21:36 PM Comments (0)

Essendon coach Matthew Knights declared last week that Matthew Lloyd mightn't kick bags of goals any more, but the Bombers skipper can still exert an influence on AFL games.

Lloyd booted two goals in Essendon's 16.17 (113) to 13.13 (91) win over West Coast at Telstra Dome on Friday night, but it was his contested work and mad tackling across half-forward that most impressed his coach.

Knights said last week Lloyd might no longer possess the ability to boot hauls of goals, and that his skipper would have felt some pressure entering the game.

Lloyd decided himself he was right to play after copping a knock at training during the week, and was used predominantly up the ground to ease the pressure on him captaining the side from the goalsquare.

Although ruckman David Hille was the stand-out on Friday night, Knights was rapt with Lloyd's performance - which included a hanger over the top of Beau Wilkes in the last quarter - and that of the forward line.

"His work rate across centre half-forward and even up to the wings at stages was really great for our side," Knights said.

"He played his role well and that's all we expected him to do.

"We can't expect him to each week win games off his own boot and we got back to him playing more a piece in the puzzle and combining well with (Adam) McPhee, (Jay) Neagle, (Scott) Lucas, David Hille and (Jason) Laycock when they're up there."

Essendon's win snapped an eight-game losing streak, and Knights was proud of the way his players had overcome a horror patch from rounds five-nine.

"We went through a tough month where we had convincing losses, but the Adelaide game (round 10) was solid without winning, we played the top team (Hawthorn) last week and the first half was solid in the first half and then they ran over the top.

"So it was good to play well and get some reward.

"For this young group its was pretty important (to get) a win for their confidence, to understand they're heading in the right direction."

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