Laidley impressed by Harding - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Laidley impressed by Harding

By Adam Cooper 17/08/2008 10:39:01 PM Comments (0)

Once a forward pocket specialist, North Melbourne's Leigh Harding is a defender on the verge of becoming an AFL midfielder.

And coach Dean Laidley is stunned by the little man's resurrection.

Harding's career as a small opportunist forward nosedived dramatically when he badly injured his knee in the last training session of 2006, which required a reconstruction and a full season out of the game.

But the 27-year-old has turned his career around in 2008, having established himself as a pacy, running defender in 19 games this season.

His liking for goal has also continued, as he booted three in Sunday's 51-point win over Carlton at Telstra Dome, after three against the Western Bulldogs last week.

Laidley said he was not surprised by how well Harding had adapted to a change in position.

But he was impressed with his player's improved mindset and ability to bounce back from a serious knee injury.

"From a physical perspective now what's doing, coming off a knee reconstruction, is unbelievable really," Laidley said.

"He's probably become a genuine midfielder now, playing on some of the best midfielders in the competition.

"So full credit to him. He's been a desperate man and he wants to continue his career, which is great."

North's win means Harding will be able to continue his career into the finals, having watched the Kangaroos' finals series last year from the sidelines.

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