No risk on Maxwell in AFL final: Malthouse - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No risk on Maxwell in AFL final: Malthouse

By Sam Lienert 16/08/2011 04:08:47 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse has not ruled out adding Nick Maxwell's name to the list of captains he has sacrificed for the team good at AFL finals time.

Maxwell will miss the remainder of the home and away season with a thumb fracture, with uncertainty over which stage of the finals he will be ready to return.

But Malthouse has refused to guarantee his skipper an automatic recall when he does recover, saying Maxwell will take time to regain touch and no risks will be taken on players with form or fitness doubts.

"The experience I've had is that any finals series you go in with people who can't get through a game of football, you run a massive risk of being burnt," the Magpies coach said on Tuesday.

"Next day when you wake up and your finals series is finished, you haven't got round 21 or 22, your finals series is gone."

There are several precedents to demonstrate Malthouse's comments are not hollow words.

The long-time coach pointed to his own playing days, when Richmond captain Bruce Monteath started on the bench in the Tigers' 1980 premiership side - which Malthouse was part of - and did not come on until the last quarter.

As West Coast coach, Malthouse made his own tough calls on captains, dropping Steve Malaxos during the 1990 finals and John Worsfold in 1998, in what proved the end of the careers of both Eagles skippers.

He said as coach, his only selection responsibility was to pick the best side for a given match.

"Along the line, someone gets burnt, someone falls out, someone is aggrieved and someone doesn't forget for a long time, until they either coach or they have a think about things," Malthouse said.

"(Then) they realise you don't go out of your way to hurt people, you go out of your way to pick the best side."

Malthouse has virtually guaranteed suspended running defender Heath Shaw a finals recall, as the Magpies are able to use match simulation to maintain Shaw's touch and fitness.

But he said it was different for injured players such as Maxwell.

Malthouse said while Maxwell's absence was clearly a concern, the club had tried to develop contingency plans for every position and also had the leadership depth to cover him.

"It's not ideal, but you've got to overcome those things, you can't sit back and think they're going to be a massive negative," he said.

"If we keep talking negatively, then sure enough that's going to happen."

Key forward Chris Dawes and backman Alan Toovey, who have also been out with hand injuries, are both some chance to return against Brisbane on Saturday night.

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