Lon­er­gan still on for fi­nal fling

Sunday Territorian - - SPORT - ROGER VAUGHAN

THERE was no way Tom Lon­er­gan’s fel­low Gee­long de­fend­ers were go­ing to have his AFL ca­reer end be­cause of a dodgy sausage roll.

The Cats back­line spoke be­fore Fri­day night’s semi-fi­nal win over Sydney about giv­ing Lon­er­gan an­other chance.

Lon­er­gan and fel­low de­fender An­drew Mackie have con­firmed they will re­tire at the end of this sea­son.

Lon­er­gan came down with food poi­son­ing on Fri­day.

While the pop­u­lar back­man still drove to Mel­bourne to prove his fit­ness, he went down­hill again and promptly went back home to watch the game on the couch.

“Cer­tainly us as de­fend­ers, we spoke about that, we wanted to make sure that it wasn’t his last game the pre­vi­ous week,” Harry Tay­lor said.

“We wanted him to have an­other crack at it.

“We didn’t ex­actly need any ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion, there was a lot on the line, but just know­ing that a good mate had had such a great ca­reer for us would po­ten­tially end the way it did was some­thing that I was cer­tainly spurred on by.”

Lon­er­gan’s late with­drawal looked dis­as­trous for the Cats, who were al­ready at long odds for Fri­day night’s sud­den­death semi.

He is their first-choice de­fender for Swans star Lance Franklin. A short con­ver­sa­tion with coach Chris Scott in­formed Tay­lor he would play on the Cole­man Medal­list.

Tay­lor was told to go out and do it.

“That was about the length of the con­ver­sa­tion,” he said.

“I just said, ‘No wor­ries, I will be ready’.”

And ready he was – Tay­lor and the rest of the Cats’ de­fence were out­stand­ing.

While Franklin clearly was not as his best, thanks to a corked thigh, he only kicked three be­hinds.

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