Don't write off Lloyd, says Knights - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Don't write off Lloyd, says Knights

By Roger Vaughan 31/03/2009 02:11:03 PM Comments (0)

Essendon's coach, Matthew Knights, will resist the temptation to return Matthew Lloyd to the goalsquare permanently after a poor start to the AFL season.

Playing deep in attack and also further up the ground, the Essendon captain only had nine touches and kicked no goals on Sunday in a 41-point defeat by Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.

Knights has backed the goalkicking star to regain his form quickly and added the Bombers must keep developing their attacking options.

"There's always that temptation (to play Lloyd deep all the time), but for the good of the club moving forward, we have to spread that load," Knights said.

"It's important ... that Jay Neagle, Scott Lucas and even David Hille or Patrick Ryder could spend some time there.

"Eventually we'll come to the final mix, but (Lloyd's) got to play both roles.

"I've got to judge that with how the game is going ... I'm not going to put players in holes and pigeon-hole them."

Lloyd topped Essendon's goalkicking again last season with 62 and finished second in the club best-and-fairest as he split his game time between full-forward and a more mobile role.

The Bombers captain made his name as a strong-marking key forward and Knights said Lloyd would regain touch.

"He's as proud as anyone I know ... he doesn't need anyone letting him know he played bad, because his self-analysis and self-awareness is right up there," Knights said.

"He knows he would have liked to have played better and contributed more, but the reality is he was beaten on the day by his opponent.

"He's got pride, he'll work through it as he did last season.

"He's doing a lot of work for us, he's up the ground and moving around a lot more, that's good for our group."

Fellow key forward Lucas appeared to have a nasty bump on his elbow on Sunday, but Knights said it didn't appear to be an injury.

Knights added that Mark McVeigh (ankle) and Kyle Reimers (quad) are another week away from resuming.

The Bombers play Fremantle this Sunday at Etihad Stadium and Knights said his team would have to be ready for the unpredictable nature of the Dockers' line-up.

"We've got to be on our mettle and be ready for anything, because they have been pushing their players in different parts of the ground," he said.

Knights said that the Bombers had to be smarter when they were moving the ball into attack, noting that top sides such as Geelong and Hawthorn were more effective once they reached about 70m from goal.

Meanwhile, the Bombers coach is rapt with the former Geelong midfielder Brent Prismall, who is training well as he recovers from last year's knee reconstruction.

"Prismall has amazed us, his professionalism and training ethic is superb, we think we've found a real player there," he said.

"He's aiming for round eight (to return); we're saying round 11 - maybe we meet in the middle."

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