Tay­lor wanted an­other chance

Sunday Mail - - SPORT - GLENN MCFARLANE MEL­BOURNE

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.

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