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Peter Jackson speaks on SEN

8:50am  Oct 24, 2017

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4:28pm  Oct 20, 2017

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1:44pm  Oct 19, 2017

Meet Harley Balic

4:37pm  Oct 18, 2017

St Kilda the sole focus, says Mathews

Matt Burgan  August 10, 2017 2:26 PM

Our fate is in our own hands, as we sit 10 [wins] and nine [losses], with an opportunity to really make something of our season. We’re focusing on St Kilda and we’re looking at their strengths and seeing where we think we can expose them and plan accordingly

ASSISTANT coach Ben Mathews says Melbourne is in control of its own destiny as it prepares for a crucial clash against St Kilda at the MCG on Sunday.

The stoppages/contest coach said the red and blue was solely focused on this round’s encounter against the Saints – and not beyond this weekend.  

“This round is a great challenge for us. We need to be at our best around the contest – there’s no doubt about that – and that’s what we pride ourselves on,” he told melbournefc.com.au.

“We’ve moved on quickly from last week – we have to. There are still three weeks to go and you take what we learned from last week [against GWS Giants].

“Our fate is in our own hands, as we sit 10 [wins] and nine [losses], with an opportunity to really make something of our season. We’re focusing on St Kilda and we’re looking at their strengths and seeing where we think we can expose them and plan accordingly.”

Working with the likes of midfielder Clayton Oliver, Mathews said the 20-year-old had “done a remarkable job” in his 32 AFL games.

“Thinking back to when I played – the end of your first or second full season, you’re just about cooked. But Clayton puts a lot of work into his body to freshen himself up during the week and he’s now one of our most professional players, which is extraordinary for a second-year player,” he said.

“He does a lot of recovery, eats well and looks after himself, so he gives himself a really good chance to keep performing at the level he’s set for himself.

“We’re really proud of him and what he’s doing and we want him to continue because he’s a critical part of our midfield group now and complements Jack Viney, Nathan Jones, Jordan Lewis, Dom Tyson and those types.

“He wins his own ball and plays the right way with a lot of hardness and grunt around the footy. He’s been a great addition to our team over the past two years, but certainly this year. Knowing him, he’ll want to finish this year really strongly and keep it going. He’s really driven.”

Mathews also praised the efforts of ruckman Max Gawn, who was Melbourne’s standout in its loss to the Giants at UNSW Canberra Oval last round.

“It was a significant injury, especially for a big man coming off a hamstring tendon op and recovery – just to get that confidence, but he’s getting better and better,” he said.

Mathews added that Corey Maynard’s elevation to the senior team last week was “incredible”, given it was his first year back playing the game at any level since 2007.

“Watching him through the pre-season, you’re shaking your head at some of the things he did in his first month of training,” he said.

“You’d go ‘gee, he’s a while off, Corey’, but he’s lived every day striving to get there and to make it in AFL. He’s come from an elite sporting background – his college and NBL basketball – so he’s had an understanding of what’s required to make it in sport.

“The devotion he’s shown to proving himself in AFL and to winning the trust of his teammates – and to perform his role week in, week out – has been excellent.”