Drama has galvanised team: Malthouse - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Drama has galvanised team: Malthouse

By Robert Grant 08/08/2008 04:45:19 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood's drama-filled week has unified the AFL club on the eve of Saturday's important clash with St Kilda, according to coach Mick Malthouse.

The suspension of Alan Didak and Heath Shaw for lying to the club about their involvement in an alcohol-fuelled car crash had the Magpies in frantic damage-control on Monday and Tuesday.

But Malthouse insists the incident will not affect the players' performance and believes it has strengthened their resolve.

"I don't think there's much doubt about the fact that they've been galvanised," Malthouse said.

"Collingwood supporters are generally very galvanised in regard to the way they're perceived anyway - you love Collingwood or you hate Collingwood.

"It's been a difficult week but I reckon the boys have handled it pretty well.

"They've moved on very well, I've been delighted with the way they've been able to handle it," he said.

"People are very resilient and the other thing about it is, we don't want to lose sight of what we're here for - we're here to play football which we are doing tomorrow evening.

"The player group got themselves very much focused on that very early in the week and they've continued to do that up to training today.

"It's one of those weeks that happens in football but it's only how big it's been with the press.

"Inside it's been one which we would prefer behind us, which it is.

"We move forward, we open a door for young players, it's fantastic."

The Magpies, coming off three straight losses, which have their top eight position in peril, will enter the game against St Kilda with two debutants.

Malthouse believes both could quickly become established players.

Key forward Chris Dawes, who was selected with the 28th overall pick in the 2006 draft but missed most of 2007 with a knee injury, will play his first game alongside midfielder John McCarthy, the club's first overall selection in the 2007 draft at No.31 overall.

"They're two exciting young players who perhaps have surprised us all about their development over the last few weeks.

"I think it would be fair to say that Chris Dawes, as a young man before he did his knee, was always thought of as a key position player.

"As a consequence to doing the knee we were able to pick him up pretty cheaply we thought.

"He's a highly intelligent young man who I think will be down the track a fairly good partner in playing in the forward line with Travis (Cloke) and Ben Reid and Sean Rusling.

"And Johnnie McCarthy is a kid who is very dedicated to wanting to be a good footballer.

"I hope they can stay in the side the next four weeks and if they can do that and play good enough football who knows, they may be in the side for the rest of the year if we manage to make the finals," Malthouse said.

The ousting of Didak and Shaw were among five changes to the side, with Shane O'Bree (hip) injured and Ryan Lonie and Sharrod Wellingham dropped.

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