McKenna hits out at tanking claims

Sportal August 5, 2012, 7:05 pm
Guy McKenna

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Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna has launched a pre-emptive attack on anyone suggesting his club might tank for picks, saying the Suns don't need the No.1 selection in this year's National Draft.

With one win to their name, the Suns are rooted to the bottom of the ladder and are in pole position to snare that first draft selection after GWS notched up their second win over Port Adelaide on Saturday, a result that appears to have cost Power coach Matthew Primus his job.

The Suns will have the chance to leapfrog GWS into 17th if they beat the Giants at Metricon Stadium next Saturday, but a win in that encounter might mean giving up the chance to snare Vic Country's Lachlan Whitfield, who many believe will go with the first selection.

McKenna, though, declared talk of draft picks were the furthest thing from his mind following a 42-point loss to 16th-placed Melbourne on Sunday.

"Couldn't care less about them (the Giants)," declared McKenna when asked the implications of next week's game.

"All we can do is control our players getting out there and playing the brand of footy we want to play.

"Tanking's an issue in the AFL ... (but) one thing we're trying to build here is respect and confidence in this group.

"We think with our list build we've had enough picks.

"Gary spoke about broken tackles," McKenna added, referring to comments from Suns captain Gary Ablett, who felt a dismal first quarter against Melbourne, one which cost them the game, could be partly attributed to some poor defensive work.

"Well I can argue two thirds of our side probably can't tackle a fully grown man yet, so we understand that part of that, we've got enough kids, we don't need another one.

"We certainly have said if it (selection No.1) comes along you get a pick, that's great, we're not going to knock that back.

"But it's about building confidence and respect in the AFL and that's what we're about and we need to do that and I reckon the best way of doing that is winning quite simply."

One of the players to earn Melbourne's respect was brilliant playmaker Harley Bennell, who produced 38 disposals and four goals in a spectacular performance from a second-year player.

Bennell and Ablett led the way for their side, accumulating 14 of the Suns' 38 clearances between them, but the pair virtually played a lone hand during the first quarter as Melbourne raced out of the blocks, kicking 6.6 to just two points.

Despite a mounting injury list, the Suns were only outscored by a further two points for the rest of the game and actually dominated the majority of the stats but McKenna was bitterly disappointed with his side's attitude during that opening term.

"It comes a time when you've got to stand on your own digs and I wouldn't have thought they came out and physically bashed us up," he said.

"We were just second to the ball, probably wanting to much of the easy footy and any side that smells that, they're going to get after you.

"It was more just a choice. We just chose to be second to the footy," he said.

McKenna said the Suns will probably have to make four or five changes for next week's game after Michael Rischitelli (knee) and Karmichael Hunt (shoulder) took early blows, although they both stayed on the field.

Dion Prestia (hamstring), Zac Smith (ankle) and Luke Russell (shoulder) were all forced off, with Russell having already been taken to hospital after injuring himself in the final term.

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