Petrie pushed to lead 'too soon' at Roos - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Petrie pushed to lead 'too soon' at Roos

By Robert Grant and Sam Lienert 24/07/2008 02:14:17 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne coach Dean Laidley has admitted he had promoted star utility Drew Petrie to the leadership group too quickly.

Laidley said Petrie had not been ready for the move when he was first elevated in 2004, but now he is backing last week's best-on-ground against Collingwood as a future club captain.

"He's super, I can't speak highly enough of him," Laidley said.

"I probably made a mistake in my second year of putting him into the leadership group.

"He was still pretty raw and that probably affected him for 18 months.

"But we took him out and he sort of gathered his thoughts and matured and now he's one of the key leaders in the football club.

"Could he be a captain one day? I don't see any reason why not."

Melbourne coach Dean Bailey, whose Demons meet North at the MCG on Sunday, said Petrie's potent form helped make the Kangaroos' attack hard to combat.

Bailey said the `Roos had a strong blend of goal-kicking options, with their versatility improved by the solid form of speedy young small forwards Matt Campbell and Lindsay Thomas.

"A bloke like Campbell has been I think a really good consistent player for them, he's got great speed, sort of Aaron Davey speed and creativity," Bailey said.

"Lindsay Thomas is a bit underrated, he's a very good overhead mark, inside 50 player.

"What's worked for them is Petrie's been in very good form, he's played ruck, earlier in the year he's played half-back flank, I think, he played centre half-back, he's still a very good contested marker up forward.

"Corey Jones is a goal-kicker, so they've got a real variety of height in their forward line and that's going to be difficult for us to prevent them from marking the football and kicking goals.

"... They're in good form and I think they've played some pretty exciting footy this year North Melbourne."

Meanwhile, Laidley also suggested veteran rover Brent Harvey - currently second favourite behind Gary Ablett for the Brownlow Medal - could improve even further, at the age of 30.

"He's become a better player each year I've had the pleasure of coaching him," Laidley said.

"The way he goes about it, his workrate, not only with the football but off the football and winning the contested ball and the pressure that he puts on, he's become such a more rounded player now.

"And he still does the match-winning things which all great players do. He's having a terrific year."

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