Taylor wanted another chance
GEELONG’S defenders used the absence of Tom Lonergan as the inspiration behind their systematic shutdown of Sydney’s forward line, with Harry Taylor saying they were desperate to ensure the popular backman wasn’t going to finish his career as a late withdrawal.
Lonergan, who will retire when the Cats’ season is over, had food poisoning on Friday after eating a sausage roll.
Taylor said the overwhelming motivation centred on the team pushing through to a preliminary final, but said giving Lonergan a chance to play again also loomed large.
“Certainly us as defenders, we spoke about that, we wanted to make sure that it wasn’t his last game the previous week,” Taylor said.
“We wanted him to have another crack at it. We didn’t exactly need any extra motivation - there was already a lot on the line - but just knowing that a good mate had had such a great career for us, (and) would potentially end the way it did was something I was certainly spurred on by. I wanted to play well to make sure he got another shot.”
Lonergan seems certain to return to take on Adelaide, having nervously watched Friday’s match from his home.
Taylor had been placed on standby to play on Lance Franklin, whom Lonergan has enjoyed a great record on, when coach Chris Scott called him around lunchtime Friday.
“Scotty gave me a call around 1.30(pm) and said ‘Tom Lonergan’s a bit sick there’s a chance you might have to play back for us, so go out and do it’,” Taylor said.
“I just said, ‘No worries, I’ll be ready’.”
He was as good as his word, blanketing Franklin, who had padding on his corked thigh, and keeping him goalless for only the second time in a final.
He won’t know until later in the week if he will stay in defence against the Crows, which is a possibility given Stewart’s hamstring issues, or whether he returns to the forward line.
“I’ll be prepared for anything,” he said.
SPECTACULAR: Adelaide Crows spearhead Tony Modra, right, says Mitch McGovern, left, is the X-factor going into Friday night’s preliminary final.