Laidley focuses on kids, not Dockers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Laidley focuses on kids, not Dockers

By Roger Vaughan 22/05/2009 07:09:38 PM Comments (0)

Training up North Melbourne's young team has meant their coach Dean Laidley has had little time to study Fremantle ahead of their AFL match at Etihad Stadium.

The Dockers bring some encouraging form to Saturday's match. After they opened the season with four losses, they put together a three-game winning streak, followed by a narrow defeat last Friday night against Hawthorn.

"I haven't given too much thought about Fremantle, to be honest," said Laidley. "We've got a really young group and we've been trying to educate those guys as much as we possibly can. It's been a bit of a revolving door.

"We just want to try to get some consistency [with] these guys playing some football together.

"The more they play together, the better the cohesive teamwork becomes."

North will look stronger on Saturday with the return from injury of Daniel Wells, Brady Rawling and first-year star Jack Ziebell.

Laidley said Rawlings perhaps could have played in last week's 70-point defeat by Geelong.

But their long casualty list meant they were more cautious.

"The three of them are right, they've jumped all the hurdles," Laidley said.

Despite the focus on development, Laidley stressed the priority remains the four premiership points.

The two sides have three wins from eight matches.

"There's no doubt we want to win the game. We want to see a really strong attack on the football and our opponents when they've got the football," Laidley said.

"Those things are successful traits of good sides.

"We know they can kick, mark and handball, but we need their workrate higher."

Fremantle have a shocking interstate record to overcome on Saturday, having won only one of their last 10 games at Etihad Stadium.

Laidley is calling for a much bigger turnout than the 14,000 fans who saw North upset Port Adelaide at the venue a fortnight ago.

There is a strong financial factor as well, with North campaigning hard to renegotiate their stadium contract.

"We need them to come along, because every supporter we get there ... it costs us less to play," Laidley said.

"(The stadium deal is) absolutely ridiculous, but we need our supporters."

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