Maric in for a tough Crows-Demons match - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Maric in for a tough Crows-Demons match

By Daniel Brettig 13/08/2008 04:50:07 PM Comments (0)

Adelaide AFL coach Neil Craig recently described ruckman Ivan Maric as "a man's man ... you would be in the trenches with him every day."

Big, burly and always willing to fly the flag, Maric will be required to do so this week as the Crows try to sew up a finals berth by beating Essendon in Melbourne for the first time.

On an individual level, the task of confronting imperious Bombers ruckman David Hille will be among the greatest of Maric's year to date.

But also challenging is the mental hurdle of facing the Bombers in Melbourne - a record Maric is all too aware of having been a vocal supporter of Essendon as a child.

"As an Essendon supporter growing up I used to enjoy it (beating Adelaide)," Maric said.

"We've spoken a bit about the history of that, it doesn't mean we can't beat them.

"We can if we want to and if we've got more desire and determination hopefully we come away with a win.

"Last year we didn't play too good over there and I suppose they wanted it more, their contested ball and tackling was better than ours, they moved it better, but this season's a different season and we're looking forward to the contest."

The youthful ruck quartet of Maric, Brad Moran, Jon Griffin and Kurt Tippett, none older than 22, have been a vital factor in Adelaide's ability to push for the finals in 2008, in defiance of widespread predictions that a difficult year lay in store.

After the latter pair did well in the early weeks of the season, Maric and Moran have combined recently to take up the reins and ensure the Crows maintain a traditional presence in the ruck.

"Us four young ruckmen this year have been really good at looking forward to contests like that (Hille)," Maric said.

"The attitude we go in with is to learn from those experiences, and if we get beaten, learn from it, if we beat him, learn from it as well."

It is arguable that none of the four young talls would have had the strength to play through an entire season, meaning the progress of Moran and Maric has been ideally timed for the sharp end of the year.

"Earlier in the year when we were both sitting in the stands and watching Kurt and Jon Griffin go at it, that makes you more determined to train harder," Maric said.

"When you get the opportunity it makes you value your position in the side a lot more, so since we've come in we've made sure the opportunity hasn't slipped."

As for Craig's "trenches" comment, Maric said he was glad to be contributing to the growth of a staunch team spirit among the fleet of younger Adelaide players.

"The good thing about this year is we've bonded really well, especially the young guys coming through and the mateship between us is really strong and you can see it in the way we're playing," he said.

"Hopefully we can keep that and make that really strong for the future - it really helps, I believe."

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