Shaw facing 'great test', says Mick - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Shaw facing 'great test', says Mick

Roger Vaughan 16/07/2011 07:03:18 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse is confident suspended defender Heath Shaw can be ready for the AFL finals, but admits it will be a tough assignment.

On Friday, the AFL banned Shaw for eight matches and fined him $20,000 after he was caught betting on captain Nick Maxwell to kick the first goal in the round-nine win over Adelaide.

Maxwell was also fined $5000 after members of his family also bet on him to kick the first goal in the same game.

Earlier on Friday, before the story broke, Malthouse had admitted to making a mistake in last year's premiership campaign.

He said players such as Tarkyn Lockyer and Paul Medhurst had not been up to AFL standard when they returned from the VFL and eventually could not be risked for the finals series.

"The difference is the players who were out last year, weren't in great form - they had to find form at VFL level," Malthouse said after Saturday's win over Carlton.

"Heath has been in good form and he's relatively young, there are vast differences in the circumstances.

"But point taken, this is going to be a great test of 'Professor' Buttifant (Collingwood sports scientist David Buttifant) and Heath, his team-mates and anyone else who is out.

"(We have) to find the workload that's acceptable without breaking him down, but also (not) breaking his mind down, because it's going to be a long haul."

Shaw cannot play football at any level during his ban and is eligible to return in the first week of the finals.

Collingwood have a group of about half a dozen younger players on the fringe of the senior side, plus more experienced personnel such as Alan Didak and Chris Dawes who are returning from injury.

Malthouse said Shaw could work with all those players to give himself the best possible chance of a speedy recall to the senior side.

"He (Shaw) will commit himself to it, no question about that, but we have a very good system underneath that can support," Malthouse said.

"We have players coming back from injury, he can work pretty well (with them).

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