Taylor motivated by grand final omission - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Taylor motivated by grand final omission

By Melissa Woods 27/02/2009 06:50:11 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn ruckman Simon Taylor has used his controversial grand final omission as motivation.

Taylor has enjoyed a big pre-season which he hopes will pay dividends in Sunday's NAB Cup quarter-final against Carlton.

The 26-year-old played 18 matches throughout the 2008 season.

But but was overlooked in round 22 and was then unable to force his way back in for the finals, with the Hawks preferring first-year player Brent Renouf as Robert Campbell's ruck partner in the grand final win over Geelong.

"I'm a little bit disappointed how last year panned out but I've been working hard over the pre-season and looking forward to having a crack at Carlton on Sunday," Taylor said.

"It's got a bit easier to deal with, it gives you a bit of fire in the belly in the pre-season.

"But I wasn't the only one who missed out, there's a small group of us who have sort of been driving the pre-season training and keeping the other guys honest, so to speak."

Missing injured stars including All-Australians Lance Franklin and Luke Hodge, who Taylor said could both return next week after shoulder surgery should the Hawks advance, the champions have handed the bookmakers' favouritism for the Etihad Stadium match to Carlton, who are paying $1.38 to Hawthorn's $3.00.

Taylor said whoever played was determined to win.

"Every time we run on the park we're trying to win," he said.

"It's been well-documented we've got a few guys out but the team we put on the park are all out there trying to win.

"It's a great opportunity for the young guys ... so it's another chance for them to show their wares on Sunday."

Carlton's Jordan Russell said his side, which downed North Melbourne in the opening round, was eager to see how they measured up against the premiership title-holders.

"They're not at full strength but any chance to have a crack at the Hawks is obviously a good chance for us," he said.

"We're just going to play the way we want to play and we've put things in place all pre-season so we just want to keep them on track and step by step get up for round one."

Russell said he hoped to spend more time at half-forward, due to the Blues' obvious strength in the midfield, with Chris Judd, Bryce Gibbs, Marc Murphy and Nick Stevens among the competition for places.

The Hawks stormed home in the final quarter to register a win over Melbourne in their round one NAB Cup encounter last weekend and Taylor said coach Alastair Clarkson was looking for a more complete performance on Sunday afternoon.

"Obviously he (Clarkson) was a bit disappointed with our first three quarters but to our credit we really turned it around in the last quarter and came home pretty strong," he said.

"We're having a full-blown crack on Sunday and we're looking forward to it."

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