Fraser eyes finals, not 200th game - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fraser eyes finals, not 200th game

By Roger Vaughan 27/08/2010 07:53:45 PM Comments (0)

Josh Fraser's long-awaited 200th AFL match is the least of his priorities as minor premiers Collingwood prepare for the finals.

Fraser has been out of the senior team since round 12, prompting weekly speculation about when - or if - he would return.

Leigh Brown's suspension means he is back for Saturday's match of the round against fellow finalists Hawthorn at the MCG.

The ruckman is out of contract at the end of this season, but he is looking no further ahead than September with the Magpies ideally-placed to push for their first premiership in 20 years.

Asked about his future, he replied: "I want to get through the next month of footy and hopefully play in a premiership.

"For me it was never about the 200th, it was more about performing well enough and giving myself a chance to get back into the side," Fraser said.

"I never really thought about whether or not I would make the 200 this year, but I'm really thankful for the opportunity to get back into the team on the verge of the finals.

"Hopefully I can perform well and play some finals."

Fraser is among several experienced Magpies who have been on the cusp of AFL selection, forced to watch on as Collingwood have dominated this season.

He made it clear that talk about whether team-mates such as Tarkyn Lockyer and Shane O'Bree are finished in the AFL angers him.

"People write them off, all of a sudden you're playing VFL, you're career is at the crossroads," he said.

"But people severely underestimate the character of the player in that locker room.

"Shane O'Bree, in and out of the side, goes back and performs as a leader each week in the VFL.

"Tarkyn Lockyer, Paul Medhurst (are) the same, Leon Davis last week - they're very proud blokes.

"It's a real slap in the face at times that they're spoken of with such disregard, I reckon."

Fraser was not the only big selection for Saturday's match, with Hawthorn also resting star Luke Hodge.

He jarred his knee last weekend, but Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson insisted Hodge would be ready for the finals.

"I'm a bit disappointed that we didn't pick him to be fair, he ran yesterday," Clarkson said.

"If it had been a final we probably would have played him, but we've just got to make sure that he's right.

"We've got a cut-throat final next week ... we could do everything right tomorrow, play tremendously well and win that game of footy and still finish seventh on the ladder having risked Hodge to play, so there was just no point taking any risk at all."

Depending on results this weekend, the Hawks could finish anywhere from fifth to eighth, with the best result a home elimination final next weekend.

"We can't do anything about that," Clarkson said.

"All we can do is approach the Collingwood game and use it as an opportunity to test ourselves against what has been the best side in the competition over the last 12 months and see where it takes us."

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