Pendlebury wins Norm Smith medal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Pendlebury wins Norm Smith medal

02/10/2010 08:06:19 PM Comments (0)

Norm Smith medalist Scott Pendlebury has revealed how a mystery illness that drained him of six kilograms led to his sub-par performance in last weekend's drawn AFL grand final with St Kilda.

Pendlebury was a shadow of himself, tallying just five kicks, 14 handballs and one clearance as he struggled to drag his weakened body through the game.

The 22-year-old was ordered not to train last Wednesday and he soon regained the weight, giving coach Mick Malthouse full confidence that his star charge would be at his best in the grand final replay.

And Pendlebury didn't let his coach down, with his 29 possessions, 11 tackles and six clearances enough to edge out teammate Steele Sidebottom for the prestigious Norm Smith medal on Saturday.

"I told the docs but I wasn't quite sure. I don't know what I had, maybe some form of gastro or something," Pendlebury said.

"I always knew I was going to play.

"I was a bit under the weather but I put my hand up, I was ready to go.

"I didn't picture a draw happening so I knew I had two hours in me to give it everything that I've got.

"When that draw came through I probably put myself back a couple of days in terms of getting up for this week.

"But our fitness staff and doctors were fantastic this week for me."

Malthouse said Pendlebury's return to health gave Collingwood an ace for the second attempt.

"... We knew Scott was going to have a big game the next game because we got the weight back on him," Malthouse said.

"And he's clearly one of our great players and he will be now that he's got a medal around his neck."

Pendlebury said he was desperate to atone for his initial grand final flop.

"I suppose I was one of the players that didn't perform last week," Pendlebury admitted.

"Mick (Malthouse) and Nick Maxwell spoke about you don't often get a chance a week later to play again and I wanted to make amends for how I performed last week.

"I just wanted to play my role in a premiership side and I can say I've done that.

"(I was) just looking around the ground with probably five minutes to go, three minutes to go, knowing that you've won a premiership - something that you've set out to do, something you've worked so hard for - is the ultimate feeling."

Pendlebury's childhood dream was to play basketball at the elite level.

But his decision to give up the sport in order to concentrate on Australian Rules has paid massive dividends.

"I didn't think I would be sitting here as a premiership player for the biggest club in Australia, so very pleased with that decision," he said.

St Kilda player Lenny Hayes won the medal when the first grand final ended in a 68-68 draw.

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