McKenna hopes for stronger Sandringham - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McKenna hopes for stronger Sandringham

By Darren Cartwright 23/07/2010 03:39:11 PM Comments (0)

Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna's prayers have not been answered and he'll have to settle for a below full-strength Sandringham at Labrador on Saturday to further shape his AFL side-in-waiting.

McKenna had hoped the Saints' VFL affiliate would be brimming with AFL experience and that 240 AFL game veteran Steven King would line-up against Suns rookie ruckman Zac Smith.

But King (hamstring) will miss the match, leaving the Zebras with less than half a dozen players with AFL experience.

"I'd love St Kilda to be full of fitness and no injuries and so they (Sandringham) have six, seven or eight really bona fide AFL players, who could be playing in their seniors, or potentially could, play in the seconds as that would obviously help our cause," McKenna told AAP.

"But Sandy is going OK."

The Zebras most experienced AFL players are ruck-forward Adam Pattison (65 matches) and utility Jarryn Geary (39) yet McKenna eyes the positives of his team playing against lesser known opponents.

It will provide him with an insight into the decision making skills of those pining for a contract and those earmarked to start in 2011 such as David Swallow, Maverick Weller and Hayden Jolly.

"One of the things about playing in the VFL is we get the chance for our young kids, like Swallow, Weller, Jolly to compete against players they don't know and you see how they are going to respond and that's the great advantage of the VFL system and playing someone like Sandringham," said McKenna.

Former Geelong premiership player Nathan Ablett returns at full-forward, while Karmichael Hunt has been named in defence.

McKenna says injuries have been the reason behind delaying Hunt's elevation to the midfield and that the former Bronco has shed three kilograms since joining his teammates at training on June 2.

"Because of the busy weekend and given a few injuries down back, he'll play again down back this weekend," McKenna told AAP.

"Then next week we will get him into the midfield. It will need a bit more tutelage to get him into the midfield.

"To me he looks much the same ... he's lost three (kilograms) since he started.

"It's just how his body is settling down."

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