Fraser still in line but big wait hurts - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fraser still in line but big wait hurts

By Sam Lienert 14/08/2010 02:43:14 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse says he still hopes to hand out-of-favour ruckman Josh Fraser a 200th AFL game, but is wary of how he will cope after an extended stint with the Magpies' reserves.

Fraser has been stuck on 199 games since last playing at AFL level in round 12, with former Sydney ruck recruit Darren Jolly in strong form, while the versatility of utility Leigh Brown has made him the preferred back-up.

Both those players again performed strongly in Friday night's 24.18 (162) to 10.4 (64) thrashing of Essendon at the MCG.

Jolly left the field late in the match, after a knock to the shin, providing a potential avenue for Fraser's return, but Malthouse said he would not be resting the in-form big man unnecessarily.

"I don't think he's injured, no ... if a player's injured, he won't play. But I can assure you after 150-60 (games) straight, I don't think he's going to give up his position that easily," Malthouse said.

"If he's right, he's right, we're not going to play around with form."

But he added that "hopefully" he could select Fraser in one of the final two rounds of the home and away season.

"We'd like to, there's no freebies but we'd like to," Malthouse said.

"There may well be a position there, we'll just have to weigh that up."

But Malthouse said forward Paul Medhurst struggled in his AFL return on Friday night, after a long stint in the VFL, and Fraser might do likewise.

"The (gap in the) level of intensity is massive," he said.

"The longer you're down there, it gets harder and with any sort of luck, Josh down the track hopefully we'll get him his 200th, and the danger of that is that he's been down there for a long time," Malthouse said.

Essendon coach Matthew Knights labelled the Magpies an "awesome footy team" and said their depth of talent was the key.

"There's 22 hard-ball-get winners, 22 tacklers, 22 players that break into space, they're massively even right across the board, they're just getting massive output from every player that represents their club," Knights said.

"They're all at the level with their understanding of the game plan, all at the level with their fitness and they've got pressure on selection, so they've got a pretty good recipe."

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