A battle of attrition

A battle of attrition

The game was a real slugfest, with big bodies through the middle and a number of key match-ups across the ground.

The absence of Manning and Tedesco meant we had to put significant minutes into the rest of the side; our ruckman Chris Keunen, for example, never left the ground.

We basically kept our backmen out there with limited rotations, while trying to get as many rotations through our midfield and high half forwards as we could.

This meant players like Michael Lourey, Corey Chalmers, Matt Johnson, Luke Meadows and Steven Potente all spent time in the middle to give our first-choice division a rest.

We average about 140 bench rotations a game and we only made 98 on the weekend so it was a significant drop.

Fortunately, the style of the contest � with limited outside run � worked in our favour.

It was a matter of kicking it long and trying to force stoppages, which probably made it pretty ugly but it was effective in the end.

We expect Tedesco to be out for a number of weeks with a calf injury. Manning wanted to come back on to the ground but we were told he would risk missing our next game against Perth or an even longer layoff.

I was proud of the side�s efforts to dig deep in front of a ripper crowd. The last couple of years, we�ve lost by five or six goals in the international round clash and people have wandered out early. But it was a tight and exciting contest this year.