Roos coach backs below-par Corey Jones - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roos coach backs below-par Corey Jones

By Leonard Siragusa 20/06/2008 04:57:19 PM Comments (0)

When Corey Jones is firing in attack, North Melbourne are a much better side.

Last year, with spearhead Nathan Thompson out because of a season-ending knee injury, Jones stepped up to fill the void by booting 46 goals, including a seven-goal haul against Hawthorn in round 17.

But he sustained stress fractures in his foot late in the year and was forced to miss the last two weeks of the club's finals campaign.

While he started this season well - including seven goals against Richmond in round two - he hit a form slump from round 7-10, kicking four goals in four weeks.

A week off and a game in the VFL for North Ballarat followed, but he will return to the `Roos forward line in Saturday's clash with Hawthorn at the MCG.

North coach Dean Laidley admitted Jones' current problems stemmed from last year's foot injury and said an interrupted pre-season coupled with a drop in confidence had seen him struggle to meet the club's expectations.

"Without doing a pre-season (he lacks) a little bit of conditioning and a (drop) in form and he hasn't reached the heights or the consistency of what we would have liked," Laidley said.

"But it's no good blocking him over the head and trying to draw blood out of the stone, it's just small steps forward.

"We're a much better side when Corey Jones is up and about - there's no question about that - but we'll keep supporting him in making sure we can get him right physically and mentally."

Fellow forwards Thompson and Shannon Grant will also be back against the Hawks, which will give the team's attack more potency.

The Roos were held goalless in the first and third quarters against Fremantle last Saturday and their three goals before the final term came from small forwards Lindsay Thomas and Matt Campbell.

With a shortage of tall targets in attack after Drew Petrie and David Hale had to cover the loss of ruckman Hamish McIntosh, the Roos lacked confidence going forward.

But Laidley said it was "debatable" his side had a more powerful forward line with the inclusions of Thompson, Jones and Grant despite the trio combining to kick six out of the 13 goals the team scored against the Hawks in Round 3.

"We kicked 100 points against Brisbane and Corey Jones and Nathan Thompson kicked one goal between them," he said.

"We kicked over 100 points against Geelong without them both so it will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow."

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