Milne not the issue for Malthouse - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Milne not the issue for Malthouse

By Guy Hand 16/04/2010 06:58:51 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse said the toughest thing he had faced this week was axing veteran midfielder Shane O'Bree, rather than the firestorm over abusing St Kilda's Stephen Milne.

Malthouse has endured one of the most difficult and embarrassing weeks of his long coaching career.

He was fined $7500 by the AFL for his quarter-time outburst at Milne last weekend, caught out badly after initially denying anything had happened, then controversially invoked the wisdom of Winston Churchill in a newspaper column to defend himself.

But he said telling O'Bree there was no place for him in the Magpies side to play Hawthorn on Saturday night at the MCG was far tougher than any of the fallout from the Milne incident.

O'Bree has been one of Malthouse's most durable and long-serving players - the 31-year-old an ever-present for the Magpies for 10 seasons.

"Emotionally I'm very attached to Shane. That's (dropping him) the most difficult thing I've had to do all week - probably for the last year and a half," Malthouse said.

"He arrived the same time I did, and we've got one goal, that's to see success at the footy club.

"The goal now is to ensure he gets back in the side playing the way we want him to play."

The Magpies coach refused to rake over the coals of the Milne matter again when quizzed about it on Friday.

The issue was declared off-limits by a Collingwood staffer ahead of the coach's press conference, and brusquely by Malthouse during it.

"That issue is dead and buried - I've got bigger things in front of me than worrying about last week," Malthouse said.

Malthouse also shrugged off being reportedly labelled a "control freak" by Geelong president Frank Costa on Wednesday as the Cats boss questioned the wisdom of Collingwood's coaching succession plan.

"My dealings with Frank Costa - I think I've met him on three or four occasions - to congratulate him on winning premierships," Malthouse said.

"I've got the utmost respect for Frank as a businessman and a club president and any second-hand information is not going to change my opinion."

Collingwood defenders Heath Shaw and Ben Johnson return from injury against the Hawks, while midfielder John McCarthy joins O'Bree on the outer.

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