Malthouse masters another finals win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Malthouse masters another finals win

By Steve Larkin 06/09/2008 07:14:52 PM Comments (0)

Mark it down as another Mick masterpiece.

Collingwood's stirring elimination final defeat of Adelaide on Saturday has coach Mick Malthouse's fingerprints all over it.

The shrewd Malthouse likened the 31-point triumph to winning a game of draughts against the rigid, methodical Crows.

"You have really got to play chess, or more so draughts if you like, because if you're not two moves in front, you will turn the ball over," he said.

"I won't say checkmated ... but once we got our nose in front it was a matter of then seeing how they reacted to get back in front, so if we can hold that out, I thought we had a fair chance of winning."

Malthouse was particularly concerned when the Magpies lagged 24 points behind late in the second stanza, saying the Crows reminded him of a "German soccer side".

"Once they get in front, they are happy with a one-nil lead and they'll defend it and win the game," Malthouse said of Adelaide, elimination final losers for the second season in a row.

"That is why it was so important that we didn't let them get in front, which they did - but were able to rebound from that in the third quarter which was terrific.

"Then, the pressure went back on the other side to have to score."

Malthouse was justifiably proud of turning his bunch of unheralded kids into winning finalists on arguably the most inhospitable AFL arena.

He now knows the likes of five-gamer Chris Dawes (three goals) and 11-gamer Ryan Cook can revel in the harshest of football's spotlights, a talent Malthouse said was a "pre-requisite" for his players.

"Our player group know without a shadow of doubt they are comprehensively assessed by myself on the way they perform in finals," Malthouse said.

"I have seen some terrific players ... not handle the occasion. Really, at the end of the day, those players, you are better off moving out and finding another club.

"In some cases there is a forgiveness ... but for the senior players in particular, there is no forgiveness. You play according to what we want or we play the kids."

Collingwood now prepares for a Saturday semi-final against the loser of Geelong and St Kilda's qualifying final on Sunday.

"They (his players) are going to get a lot of slaps on the back," Malthouse said.

"What is so important, we refocus, we can't be satisfied. It was a great result but we can't just sit back now and be satisfied."

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