Forget captaincy, Knights urges McVeigh - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Forget captaincy, Knights urges McVeigh

By Sam Lienert 04/07/2009 11:58:28 AM Comments (0)

Essendon coach Matthew Knights says midfielder Mark McVeigh should forget about losing his chance to captain the AFL club and worry about playing some football.

Knights said the Bombers missed midfielders McVeigh, suspended by his club, and Jobe Watson, out injured, in Friday night's 15.12 (102) to 9.13 (67) loss to Collingwood at the MCG.

McVeigh was ruled out after a late night drinking session last weekend caused him to miss a training session.

The aspiring captain said on Thursday night he believed he had cost himself the chance to ever replace current skipper Matthew Lloyd.

But, after injuries caused McVeigh to miss eight of Essendon's first nine matches, and a striking suspension preceded the club-imposed ban, Knights said he had more pressing concerns.

"We've never come out and publicly said that we're looking to change the captaincy in the near future," Knights said.

"I think it's something that Mark just needs to worry about getting back and playing good football in 2009.

"That's Mark's major focus... the captaincy's a little bit irrelevant at this point in time, because we've got a wonderful captain."

Knights said his side was convincingly beaten by the Magpies in the midfield and would have loved to have Watson and McVeigh.

"Two important men and strong bodies, it would have been nice to have them," he said.

Meanwhile, Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse welcomed the form improvement of key forward Travis Cloke, who booted four goals and set up several others against the Bombers to go with three against Fremantle the previous round.

They are his two best hauls of the season, after some form struggles earlier in the year, but Malthouse said it was unrealistic to expect a 22-year-old key forward to always dominate.

"You're harsh if you think that key forwards will perform like Jonathan Brown every week, it just doesn't happen," Malthouse said.

But he said Cloke's form was a key to the Magpies' attack.

"He's very important to us, but we have other contributors, which is very handy," Malthouse said.

"I think Leigh Brown and (John) Anthony (have been) key forwards in the past few weeks that have actually put enormous pressure on in the air."

Malthouse said Alan Didak, who produced a fourth straight 30-plus disposal game on Friday night, after having never having topped 30 touches before that streak, was reaping the rewards of maturity.

"I'm not talking about life maturity, it's football maturity," he said.

"Half-forwards can be locked out of a game very very easily over a long period, they don't always hold up because of the circumstances of the game.

"He's learnt to cope with the circumstances and been a player that's drawn on those experiences leading up to this."

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