'Pies strangle Essendon out of game - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

'Pies strangle Essendon out of game

By Roger Vaughan 25/04/2007 08:19:10 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse has lavished praise on his AFL team after it strangled the life out of Essendon in the Anzac Day blockbuster.

Bombers coach Kevin Sheedy conceded only the Magpies' inaccuracy prevented a disaster as they beat his side by 16 points, 12.23 (95) to 11.13 (79).

Collingwood defender Heath Shaw won the Anzac Medal as best afield with a standout performance in a rock-solid backline.

The contrast between the two coaches was stark when they assessed the performance of their respective teams.

"There wasn't a player (where we worried) about the effort, all the efforts were fantastic," Malthouse said.

"Mistakes were made, yes, but I had no worries about effort."

Later, Sheedy was asked how many Essendon players earned a "tick" beside their names.

He answered: "Probably maybe eight or nine, so there's a lot of improvement in us.

"In the end, we didn't get the ball inside our 50 enough times to give our team a decent chance of getting a reasonably-good score.

"Collingwood did, they didn't get the score, thank God."

Malthouse admitted he had let his mind briefly wander in the second half as he considered the young talent he could still bring into his side.

He nominated untried youngsters such as Ben Reid, Tyson Goldsack and Nathan Brown as further upside for the Magpies, who were unfancied before but now share a 3-2 record with Essendon.

"I thought 'ooh, I reckon we're on the right track here'," Malthouse said.

"We're playing some young players today, they're all expected to hold up and in our ranks we've got some really exciting kids who can put further pressure on that side and make this side into a pretty good one.

"It's funny, it goes straight past you and all of a sudden you go straight back to the game.

"They were all sitting in there today and you could just see their eyes bulging before and after the game."

It was a remarkable admission from a man renowned for his intensity and concentration.

By contrast, Sheedy was left lamenting some dreadful skill errors from Kepler Bradley and the below-par form of Mark Johnson and Jobe Watson.

He also revealed Dustin Fletcher and Matthew Lloyd were in doubt leading up to today, while Henry Slattery nearly pulled out minutes before the opening bounce with hamstring tightness.

Sheedy conceded young Magpies defender Harry O'Brien did well on Bombers forward Scott Lucas, but used that clash to illustrate his concern about the amount of illegal holding that went on during the hard-fought game.

"O'Brien played quite well on Lucas....if anything, he's either very, very shrewd or he gets on well with some friends out there," Sheedy said in a veiled criticism of the umpiring.

"There was a lot of holding going on in that match, we'll have to check that one right out."

The match review panel will look at several incidents during the match, including an incident involving Essendon forward Andrew Lovett and a skirmish late in the game between Bomber Mark McVeigh and Magpie Nick Maxwell.

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