Bombers banking on teenage defender - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bombers banking on teenage defender

By Robert Grant 14/07/2009 05:10:56 PM Comments (0)

Essendon coach Matthew Knights plans to continue the heavy workload on impressive young defender Tayte Pears for the rest of the AFL season.

Pears played a pivotal role in the Bombers' victory over Sydney last week but Knights says he wants the 19-year-old to regroup ahead of Friday's clash with the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.

"It was a good opportunity last week with Michael Hurley coming in to the side to play on Micky O'Loughlin that we can play Tayte at centre half-back," Knights said.

"It got him up and moving around a bit and I think he finished the day with 21 disposals and added a lot of rebound as well as defending hard.

"For a second-year player I think he's been first class.

"I'll be riding him pretty hard to make sure he finishes the year strong though because he was good last week but there's a new challenge this week.

"That Bulldog forward line is loaded with class and talent so he's going to have to come to play again."

Knights said the Bombers needed to make a dramatic switch from the lockdown game played by Sydney and quickly adapt to what is expected to be a more free-flowing match on Friday.

"The challenges do come thick and fast and going to Sydney last week was playing a really tough side and a strong side that have a rich history of success," he said.

"It was a good achievement but then you look six days ahead and you've got a team like the Western Bulldogs to confront.

"You look across the Bulldogs' lineup and they've got class on every line so we're going to have to step up again and go hard."

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