Laidley changes tune over AFL pre-season - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Laidley changes tune over AFL pre-season

By Sam Lienert 05/02/2009 08:11:22 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne coach Dean Laidley is aiming for a sustained run in the AFL pre-season competition, believing last year's first round exit hurt his team's preparation.

The Kangaroos coach said while the club was not desperate to win the NAB Cup, staying alive in the competition was much better than being relegated to regional grounds for practice matches of widely varying standards.

"Do you set yourself to go all out to win it? I wouldn't have thought so," Laidley said on Thursday.

"But the longer you can stay in it I think it's better for your preparation because you play on good grounds in good conditions, rather than ending up in Alice Springs or Bunbury or somewhere like that.

"Last year we lost our first (NAB Cup game) in Darwin and then we played Brisbane (in Melbourne) who left basically their senior side at home.

"We went to Fremantle, who had a solid week the previous week so they rested all their players and then we played Melbourne who had a really bad injury list this time last year.

"So our preparation was really poor going into round one and I think that showed.

"Are we going out to win it full on? No, we're going to try some of our younger guys, but we'd like to think if we can get a few games in this competition it will help our preparation."

The `Roos' first NAB Cup match is against Carlton at Telstra Dome on February 20.

Speaking ahead of an intraclub practice match at Arden St, Laidley said North's list was in good shape, with youngster Robbie Tarrant, recovering from shoulder surgery, the only player with a notable issue.

Tarrant is about three weeks away from playing.

Laidley said young ruckman Todd Goldstein, who played three games in his debut season last year, had been a standout on the training track over the summer.

Fellow ruckman Hamish McIntosh, who had an injury-interrupted year in 2008, has also impressed.

With fellow talls Drew Petrie and David Hale coming off career-best seasons, the coach was excited about the big man options at his disposal.

"To have (McIntosh and Goldstein) rucking will be great for the football club and allow us to play David Hale forward," he said.

"If we can keep those three on the park it will be very exciting for our supporters."

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