Preparations are underway for our MCG clash with Hawthorn. See what senior coach John Longmire had to say on Luke Parker's recovery, the squad's depth of talent and the upcoming opposition below. 

On Luke Parker

“We haven't made the decision whether he plays or not this week. He's got to get through training and do some contested work. He's did some of that last week and then he needs to ramp that up this week. Then it's a matter of getting the all clear, and whether he plays at VFL or AFL level. He's missed a lot of footy.”

On picking the strongest 22

It's a combination of a few things. We felt like on the weekend we needed to ramp up our pressure and we felt that Wicks coming in would have done that across our half forward line.

"Having Braden [Campbell] as sub, he can play in all different roles. That was the best team for last week. What it looks like this week, we haven't got to that point. Wicks was sub for a number of weeks. You need to make sure you don't spend too much time in that space. They still need to have some match fitness and get the balance of that right as well.”


On Nick Blakey and Tom McCartin

“They've both pulled up pretty well. They'll do some running today and hopefully train later in the week. That's the plan. The good thing is they were able to both play out the game. That's always a good sign. They pulled up pretty well the next day or two.”

On James Rowbottom’s 100th career game

“He's the number one tackle player in the competition. He's got the highest tackle total in the competition. He's one of those guys that knows what he's good at and does it consistently.

“He's only young. He's still only 23 and he’s played a lot of footy.

“He's a key component of our midfield. He knows what his job is. He gets after the opposition and puts enormous heat on, which hopefully affects the opposition's ball movement.”

On the squad’s depth of talent

“This time last year we'd had some injury concerns in our squad and we'd had it for a number of weeks and I think it's a bit challenging after a certain period of time. This year's been a bit different but I'm always touching wood.

“It changes really quickly but we got to the stage where we need a strong squad. Week to week we need a strong squad and over the course of the year you need a strong squad and if your VFL team's competitive and you've got some decent players playing well in your VFL squad I think that's always a good sign. Things change so quickly at senior level and a couple of injuries or a couple of players might drop in a bit of form.

You need to have someone ready to go and they need to be in form so they're confident to be able to come in and play a role for us.

On returning to the MCG

“We lost by five points and we won a couple of weeks before that so I think it's more about making sure we're attuned to what we're going to get. Which is enormous pressure, enormous physicality from Hawthorn and making sure that we continue to be consistent.

“We're still aiming to get better. We've got a lot of improvement that we feel that we can give and we need to keep getting better as a team and as a squad. We feel like this week is an opportunity to improve and keep moving forward. That's what the aim is.”

On Dane Rampe

“He's going okay. He's running really well, he'll do some training this week but he won't be in line for selection. But he's coming along pretty well so we're happy with his progression. Hopefully he's available for next week.”

On Joel Amartey in Round 6

“I think to be able to do that consistently is a difficult thing. In modern day footy to be able to hit the scoreboard like that, certainly his kicking was really strong on the weekend which he was able to get results from…

“He's got pretty good footwork for a big fella and he's got great speed so that's once again a work in progress. We've still got to make sure that our players are consistent in their approach, their preparation, but then also our performance. That's one of the things we're striving for.”

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