Bombers coach hoping to regain trio - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bombers coach hoping to regain trio

21/04/2010 06:48:37 PM Comments (0)

Essendon coach Matthew Knights hopes for a triple-injection of determination and talent ahead of Sunday's Anzac Day AFL blockbuster against Collingwood.

Knights will know after Thursday's main training session whether he will regain Mark McVeigh (blood infection), Angus Monfries (quad) and Brent Stanton (back) for the annual clash.

The Bombers (1-3) have been unimpressive so far this season and will start rank outsiders against Collingwood, who returned to form last Saturday night by thumping Hawthorn.

Knights predicts there will be "two or three" team changes for Anzac Day.

"Angus Monfries has certainly come to hand a lot quicker in the last 4-5 days than we thought he would, he's a strong chance," Knights said at the club's Dick Reynolds Club lunch on Wednesday.

"Brent Stanton, I would consider a 90-95 per cent chance to come back into the team.

"Also Mark McVeigh, who spent five days in hospital with his illness, is certainly staking a claim to play.

"Those three guys all wear their heart on their sleeve, they all really play hard for Essendon - if those three guys can hit the line on Sunday, I would certainly be a pleased coach."

The importance and exposure of the Anzac Day game at the MCG means that regardless of their form, Essendon and Collingwood tend to rise to the occasion.

The Bombers staged a remarkable late charge to beat the Magpies in last year's game.

Certainly Essendon must lift this time after an indifferent start to the season, with the round-three win over Carlton their only highlight so far.

West Coast beat them comfortably last Friday night at Subiaco.

"This week will show a good sign about where the mental strength of this group is," said captain Jobe Watson.

"If we play well and play to the level that we should, then we should be capable of beating anyone."

The Bombers had a hard running session on Tuesday, but Knights said it was not punishment for an insipid effort against West Coast.

"We had the week planned this time last week for this week, it was a nine-day break so a bit of variety in the week, a little bit of running, a little bit of touch," Knights said.

He conceded it was a major concern at Essendon that their young team was able to lift for big matches against Collingwood or Carlton, but otherwise was too inconsistent.

"We're not going to say it's not an issue, because at the moment if you just purely look on fact and objectivity, it is," Knights said.

"That's a fact - against Geelong (in round one) and Carlton, we played pretty strong football in those games.

"(Against) Fremantle and West Coast, it was completely, virtually, the opposite.

"We have to work through that, I'm constantly talking to the leadership group about ways and means (of) how we can become more consistent as a team.

"Until we become more consistent, we won't be the team we want to be, we understand this and we have to be better at it."

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