Anthony goal haul 'not surprising' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Anthony goal haul 'not surprising'

By Sam Lienert 07/03/2009 01:08:01 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood youngster John Anthony's brilliant form in attack has given the Magpies some tough decisions to make heading into the AFL premiership season.

Anthony produced an impressive seven-goal haul on Friday night as Collingwood cruised into the final of the pre-season competition with a 1.17.5 (116) to 3.6.10 (73) win over Essendon at Etihad Stadium.

The 21-year-old had been earmarked as a key defender when he arrived at the club.

But, after a serious neck injury deprived him of any football in 2007, he surprised with his form as a makeshift forward in the first 12 games of his career last year.

He kicked 25 goals, at least one in every game he played, to provide a useful option in attack when the Magpies were missing key forwards Anthony Rocca and Sean Rusling, along with young prospect Ben Reid, through injury in the second half of the season.

But Collingwood assistant coach Blake Caracella, the acting head coach on Friday night, said Anthony was unlikely to revert to the backline given his form in attack.

"I think he can do both," Caracella said.

"But the way he played (on Friday night) playing forward, I think he played quite well.

"You'd be pretty silly to put him down back when Nathan Brown's playing down there, (Simon) Prestigiacomo, we've got quite a few talls that can play back, (Nick) Maxwell, Ben Reid plays forward and back as well.

"So we've got a luxury in that department."

Caracella said Anthony's goal-kicking heroics were no surprise given the promising form he showed late last year.

"He played quite well last year at full-forward in the last seven or eight games, you wouldn't have thought he'd played fullback for the major part of his career," he said.

The question for the Magpies will be whether veteran Rocca and injury-prone Rusling, both of whom the club hopes will be ready to play by round one, can also fit into an attack alongside Anthony and fellow tall forward Travis Cloke.

Caracella indicated there would always be a spot for 31-year-old Rocca once he regained full fitness, which suggests Rusling might find it hard to push his way in.

"Anthony Rocca's got something that those players haven't, he's a pretty big unit," he said.

"When he gets down there he's one marking option that really needs a big strong body to play on.

"Then you can throw in Travis Cloke who's probably just as big but can move probably a bit better, then you've got (Anthony) and Reidy and the smaller types."

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