McEvoy 'devastated' by AFL team omission - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McEvoy 'devastated' by AFL team omission

By Roger Vaughan 23/09/2010 09:39:10 PM Comments (3)

Ben McEvoy's omission for the AFL grand final has left the young St Kilda ruckman devastated and Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse surprised.

Malthouse also thinks the decision to drop McEvoy for tough defender Steven Baker means the Saints could make a late change for Saturday's premiership decider.

Saints coach Ross Lyon said the club would need to help McEvoy, 21, deal with his axing.

Collingwood also made two changes for the match, recalling key defender Simon Prestigiacomo and Leon Davis for Tyson Goldsack and Nathan Brown.

But Malthouse said the 25 players in the Collingwood squad would not know the final 22 until after Friday morning's training session.

"It was devastating for Ben, obviously, he took the news quite hard," Lyon told Channel Seven's Game Day Prime Time.

"(Assistant coach) Stephen Silvagni and I called him in - probably from his point of view, (he) didn't see it coming.

"But certainly we've picked the team we think will give us our best chance and he needs to hold himself together now, he's a great young man and he will."

"From here it's about the team, but at the right time certainly we'll need to spend more and more time with Ben to help him through this.

Baker has been out since round 13, following a nine-game suspension.

He became eligible for a recall at the start of the finals series and speculation has increased this month about whether St Kilda would risk Baker, given his lack of match fitness.

McEvoy has played 18 matches this season, including the last seven, and his omission means Michael Gardiner will be their sole full-time ruckman against Darren Jolly and Leigh Brown.

"Baker coming in is no surprise, McEvoy going out is a surprise," Malthouse said.

"It probably won't alter our selection - does it mean that one of their three could come in? Yeah, I think there's a strong possibility.

"Put it this way, we're always alert to the 25 and being a grand final, one would suspect there could be a 26.

"It's the old saying, expect the unexpected, but when it happens, be ready for it."

Malthouse added it was vital for their three emergencies - Nathan Brown, Goldsack and Tarkyn Lockyer - think they could come in as late inclusions.

"It's so important 25 players all believe they have a chance, because quite frankly they have," Malthouse said.

"(The emergencies) will go training tomorrow and they will be told if they're in or out by the time the parade is over."

Prestigiacomo has been out since round 20 because of a badly corked thigh and he will have the big job on Saints captain Nick Riewoldt.

The big knock on Davis is his suspect form in finals, but Malthouse has great faith in him.

He pointed out Davis had played a different role in attack this season.

"His tackling is No.1 in the competition in that area of the ground, he's added that value to us," Malthouse said.

"He does provide an X-factor ... and let me say, you can't afford to leave him alone, so someone has to be very, very good to play on him."

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