Malthouse upbeat after beating Sydney - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Malthouse upbeat after beating Sydney

By Adrian Warren 21/06/2009 02:07:11 PM Comments (0)

AFL coaching's marathon man Mick Malthouse says his surging Magpies have to be ready to position themselves for the closing sprint to the finals.

Collingwood jumped to fourth with Saturday night's 23-point win over Sydney at ANZ Stadium.

It was the Magpies' fourth straight win and their third victory in as many interstate journeys this season.

With just one more interstate assignment remaining against Adelaide and no matches against the unbeaten top two teams, the Magpies are well placed to cement a top-four spot.

Malthouse, who chalked up his 600th game as an AFL coach on Saturday night, was in a relaxed post-match mood and compared the charge to the finals to a variety of athletic race distances.

"There's a long way to go, I've always said it's a marathon but the closer you get to round 22, the marathon is now a half marathon," Malthouse said.

"At some stage it will become a real sprint and we want to be in a position.

"I've never seen anyone save themselves in a 400 (metres) and come home in the last 200, you don't do that.

"You've got to be in a really good position before that sprint happens and it's going to happen and we've got to be ready."

While emphasising the "we" rather than the "me" on the night and celebrating a team effort, Malthouse couldn't help but reflect on his long coaching journey.

He made it sound like he expected his coaching career to be a sprint rather than the marathon it has become.

"I kept my job the first year, so that shows you how confident I was about getting past my first year as a coach," Malthouse said.

"I went to Western Australia for what we termed two years, that was 10 and for this to be my 600th (game as coach and 774th) as a player and a coach, no I would never have dreamed.

"If I went back to my coaching thing, I got interviewed by Wangaratta Rovers and probably could have got that job.

"The other job was Central Districts and I didn't get it, so I wasn't totally known in the football industry and I wasn't totally convinced about my own abilities."

Collingwood forward Alan Didak, who starred in the Magpies' win over Sydney, said winning the milestone game for their veteran coach was a "massive" part of the players' pre-match mindset.

"We didn't speak about it too much before the game but the players knew that we had to win it for him," Didak said.

"I can't say a bad thing about him, he's been tremendous.

"He's taught me a lot about footy, he's a great person."

Collingwood's one major injury concern arising out of the ANZ Stadium fixture was a first quarter medial ligament knee injury to star midfielder Scott Pendlebury.

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