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Mateship put aside as ex-teammates clash

By Justin Chadwick 28/06/2008 04:09:02 PM Comments (0)

Essendon midfielder Adam Ramanauskas says niceties will be put aside when he confronts former AFL teammates Dean Solomon and Mark Johnson on Sunday.

Solomon and Ramanauskas remain good friends despite Solomon's departure from Essendon two seasons ago.

But when the Dockers butt heads with the Bombers, mateship will be put aside.

"There will never be an issue of going a little bit softer because you are playing an ex-teammate or a friend, it's probably you are going to go that little bit harder because you don't want him to beat you," Ramanauskas said at a joint press conference with Solomon.

"(There's) a bit of banter during the week but once the ball is bounced it's a game of football and we both want to win as much as each other.

"It will be exciting to play against Solly.

"We used to room together with every trip we went on (for Essendon) so we probably know each other a little too well in certain senses but it's going to be fun."

The Dockers have made three changes for the match, recalling Scott Thornton, Steven Dodd and Clayton Hinkley to replace Michael Johnson (ankle), Jeff Farmer (club suspension) and Ryan Murphy (omitted).

Johnson, who played 194 games for the Bombers before receiving a career lifeline with the Dockers, will line up for his 200th game.

Essendon have made just the one change, with Ricky Dyson coming in for Henry Slattery, who suffered a fractured cheekbone in last week's sickening clash with Brendan Fevola.

Scott Lucas's return to the side a month ago and Matthew Lloyd's return to form has sparked a turnaround in the Bombers' fortunes.

Essendon have won two games on the trot and Ramanauskas admitted the star pair had boosted confidence at the club.

"They are two champions of the club and of the game over the last 10 or 12 years and they are irreplaceable out of any team," he said.

He also said a change of attitude was behind the club's run of good form.

"A few of the guys basically said 'enough's enough, we need to start performing', because the standard we were setting just wasn't good enough," he said.

"We needed to lift our intensity in many areas and change a little bit of our behaviour and I think we've done that."

Solomon and Ramanauskas have joined forces this week to promote the Cancer Council's Call to Arms campaign, which was launched last year after Essendon players wore yellow armbands during a game in 2006 in support of Ramanauskas, who was undergoing cancer treatment at the time.

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