Magpie method not built in a day: coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpie method not built in a day: coach

By Sam Lienert 03/10/2010 07:44:38 AM Comments (0)

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon called it a new, improved version of St Kilda's game plan, but Mick Malthouse revealed Collingwood's AFL premiership blueprint had a much older inspiration.

The war history buff said the method that allowed the Magpies to dominate this season, then cap that success with a flag, was based on the military system that sustained the Roman Empire.

Known as "the box", Malthouse said his side's full-field team press, which has proved potent at dismantling opposition rebound from defence, leading to turnovers and quick Collingwood goals, was his version of the Roman Legion.

Like disciplined Roman soldiers, Malthouse said the Magpies had attempted to create unstinting waves of attack on opposition ball-carriers.

"The Roman Legion, which was in a box formation, (was) very hard to penetrate and there's always someone to step up," Malthouse said.

"So that box can get smaller and smaller, but you've still got heavy fighting capabilities all the way through it, which we pushed in front of our opponents all the time for the last two years and it's come about."

Malthouse, who said he also borrowed from German World War II military leader Erwin Rommel's "front-on assault" methods, said other clubs would clearly try to imitate the Magpies, but he warned that Collingwood had a head start of several years.

"I can get away with saying it now, because it's going to take two or three seasons of development, you don't mysteriously wake up one morning and say I'm going to play like Collingwood did," he said.

"It takes a couple of years of development, understanding it and performing it and then you pick the players around it ... if they're not the right players it won't survive that contact.

"That's what we hard-pressed today (against the Saints), that the more we can hit them front-on and turn that ball over and keep that pressure on them in a forward motion (the better).

"It's very, very, difficult to break and it's very difficult to perform your skills under that pressure.

"It's very difficult therefore to score, because each player knew his role.

"You don't wake up tomorrow morning and tell your players that's how you've got to perform, it will take a long time (for rivals) to put that in."

Lyon said Collingwood had built "Mark Two" of the team defence that almost delivered St Kilda last year's premiership and "all clubs will be trying to find Mark Three".

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