Roos denies any return to coaching

HE WOULD be a man in demand if he still wanted to coach, but Paul Roos says he is leaning to never again take on the top role.
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''I wouldn't think so,'' Roos, the Swans 2005 premiership coach, replied when asked yesterday if he would coach again. ''No, I wouldn't think so.''

Intrigue still surrounds Roos' future coaching ambitions. He told The Age earlier this month: ''It's unlikely. All I try and talk about is the here and the now. It certainly won't happen next year. It might happen the year after, but who knows?''

Roos was linked with Greater Western Sydney in a report on The Footy Show, suggesting the Giants had him at the top of their wish list for 2014. ''I don't know anything about it, absolutely nothing,'' Roos said.

Giants chief executive Dave Matthews said he had yet to give any thought to 2014. ''It's natural for people to link Paul to any vacancy because everybody knows the quality of the coach and the person and, I guess, ours in particular given that he lives in Sydney, but we haven't thought too much further ahead at this stage other than being in discussion with Sheeds [Kevin Sheedy],'' he said.

''Clearly at some point in time, whenever it may be, there will be a successor to Sheeds, not putting a time limit on that, and this is going to be, if not already, one of the plum coaching jobs in the competition.''

Sheedy is expected to remain in charge of the Giants next season, although he has yet to be offered a new contract. The future of his senior assistant Mark Williams also remains unclear, although he is contracted for another season.

But Roos has definitely ruled out coaching any club next season.

''All I have said, which is being consistent, is that I wouldn't even entertain it at the moment because one of my boys is in year 12 this year and one is in year 12 next year,'' he said. ''I certainly have no plans to go back to coaching. But my family situation changes at the end of next year, maybe they have taken that as a sign I am looking to coach. At this stage, I am certainly not looking to do that. It's just that my family situation changes at the end of next year.''

Roos handed power to his assistant, John Longmire, last year but retains strong links to the game with his role as head coach of the Swans academy and as a commentator on Fox Sports.

Longmire yesterday said Roos was highly unlikely to give up his relaxed lifestyle in eastern Sydney and join the Giants.

''I think his hair is starting to grow back and he certainly hasn't got any grey hairs,'' Longmire said.

''Every time I've seen him he's been down at Coogee having a coffee. I can only take him on his word and what he says publicly, and what he says privately with his actions sitting back having a latte in Coogee suggests that he's not quite ready for the big jump back into senior coaching. He looks at me with my hair marching back and the wrinkles around my eyes and he's quite happy to have a laugh.''

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Franklin’s return confirmed

HAWTHORN spearhead Buddy Franklin's long-awaited return from injury was last night confirmed when the Hawks finalised their team for tomorrow's clash with Gold Coast at the MCG.
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Franklin returns after five weeks, having injured a hamstring in the Hawks' percentage-boosting 162-point victory over Greater Western Sydney in round 15.

Football manager Mark Evans said he expected Franklin, 25, to take to the field from the opening bounce.

''He's had two solid weeks of consistent training,'' Evans said. ''You'd expect that he would be right to go from the start of the game, remembering that in the game where he came off and felt tight he played half a game then and kicked four goals in the first half, so you'd expect Buddy to get back into things fairly quickly.

''We all were expecting him to play [last week],'' Evans said. ''But he said he didn't feel like he was ready to go, so we took that into account and respected that.

''But he's participated and done everything this week, so he's ready to go.''

Also returning to join Franklin up forward is Jarryd Roughead, who missed last week's 72-point defeat of Port Adelaide with an ankle concern.

Roughead, who ruptured his Achilles last year, has had a heavy load this season, playing all but one game since returning to the side. ''He's had a really solid year and quite a big load playing forward and in the ruck, so with that minor ankle last week it's not too bad for him to rest and recover properly and allow the ankle to settle down,'' Evans said.

Cyril Rioli is out of the side with bone bruising on his shoulder, while defender Josh Gibson will also miss the game after injuring his ankle last week. Ruckman Max Bailey was dropped.

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Tough days for Blues and Dons

IT GOES without saying that there's always something on the line when Essendon takes on Carlton. Two big clubs that, with 16 premierships each, boast the mantle of the AFL's most successful outfit. Today, as usual, there's much pride at stake. But a lot more besides.
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It's been, by their own lofty standards, a pretty barren decade or so for the Bombers and the Blues, neither having even come close to a flag for the bulk of that period. As a result, much as each club dislikes the other, they still share plenty, not the least being frustrated fan bases pining for the old days.

A token finals appearance this season won't do a lot to appease those masses, but will at least stop a much larger wave of discontent after a year that for each has at times been a frightening roller-coaster ride.

Essendon and Carlton have taken very different paths yet somehow arrive at this critical juncture at the same point - finals hopes hanging by a thread. And with seasons seriously derailed by injuries.

Their round-four meeting seems an eternity ago. It wasn't so much a Sliding Doors moment, as the first of a series of swings and roundabouts.

While both were undefeated, Essendon went in very much an underdog after three relatively uninspiring wins. Hardly the form of a contender. Carlton, meanwhile, had just beaten Collingwood by 10 goals and had taken over as the flag favourite.

But Essendon stunned the Blues. The final margin of 30 points was not nearly as telling as the way the Dons stifled Carlton at the stoppages, then spread from them far more effectively. Two questions emerged. Did the Blues have a significant Achilles heel? And did we indeed have another genuine contender?

Essendon and Carlton shared another significant moment on the Saturday of round 10, albeit an unwanted one, with injuries beginning to bite deep into their lists. But it was hardly the sole reason for what was to unfold.

The Blues, having had their confidence dented by St Kilda, then Adelaide, were belted by struggling Port Adelaide by 54 points a fortnight later, managing just two goals after half-time. The Dons, meanwhile, boasting an 8-1 win-loss record, somehow contrived to hand Melbourne, at the lowest of ebbs, its first victory of the season.

That was certainly a turning point for Essendon, which was losing players to soft-tissue injuries left, right and centre. Carlton, with a similarly lengthy queue at the medical-room door, would end up losing four on end, but was competitive at least against Geelong and West Coast. Then when it was humiliated by Hawthorn in round 14, its scorecard was 6-7 and the speculation about coach Brett Ratten's future was at its most feverish.

The Bombers' own version, minus the coaching speculation, came the following week, courtesy of a 71-point belting at the hands of St Kilda.

Two huge jolts to confidence and standing - to which there can be little doubt that it is Carlton that has responded best.

If the Blues' round-three defeat of Collingwood was their best performance this season, the massive against-the-odds win over the Pies in round 15 was a close second. Including that victory, they have won four of their past six matches, and with playing stocks still depleted, have turned up some genuine prospects in Levi Casboult and Tom Bell.

Essendon's smacking by the Saints was just a taste of what was to come. The Bombers then lost to Geelong by 67 points and Hawthorn by 94. The rot stopped against Adelaide (when the Bombers got within four points), but then there was another disappointment against North Melbourne last week. An 8-1 record has turned to 11-8.

Two more wins will probably help the Dons scrape into September. Carlton needs a hat-trick of them, and some stumbles from those above.

Most of the missing names for both teams are now back. One C. Judd for Carlton. Also Kade Simpson, Jarrad Waite and Andrew Walker. For Essendon, it's Paddy Ryder, Brent Stanton and David Zaharakis. If you'd been here for the round-four clash then left the country for a few months, you might think not a lot had changed.

But this has been a year of living dangerously for both. One with a potential sting in the tail left yet. But also, this afternoon, the chance for two great foes to inflict a fatal wound on the other; a dagger to the heart which, given the circumstances, would be relished even more than usual.

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Scorpions want Viney to line up in finals

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CASEY is pushing for talented father-son prospect Jack Viney to play in the VFL finals next month as the midfielder continues to blossom for a potential early season debut for Melbourne next season.

Viney, who is expected to be taken by the Dees in the first round of this year's AFL draft, will play the third and final of his allotted games today against Collingwood as the 23rd player after impressing against Geelong with 18 touches last week.

Scorpions coach Brett Lovett, who will coach his 150th VFL match today, was hopeful Melbourne would give Viney permission to play in the VFL finals, given the Demons' shallow list of players to qualify for finals has shrunk to 13 after Liam Jurrah flew to Adelaide.

''It's really going to be up to Melbourne and to Jack and his family on whether he keeps playing with Casey this season. We will sit down with Jack and other players over the next week or so to see what the plans are,'' Lovett said.

Last week's match against Geelong was Viney's first in the VFL since the sickening incident that left him with a broken jaw after a heavy bump from midfielder David Wojcinski earlier this season.

■Geelong will be looking to get midfielder Travis Varcoe and ruckman Nathan Vardy through unscathed in today's hitout against Coburg.

Varcoe is expected to play the next two games in the VFL. It's his first match since he injured his foot during the pre-season.

The 23-year-old will be joined by veteran midfielder David Wojcinski, Shannon Byrnes and Vardy, who will play his second game in the VFL after returning from a hip injury.

Collingwood will also hand some more game time to Ben Johnson, Andrew Krakouer and Brent Macaffer, who have all come back from injuries.

■Adam Potter has been dumped as coach of Coburg, with Richmond set to appoint one of its development coaches for the role in the final year of its alignment. The club has offered Potter, who is a school teacher, a development role at Coburg next season but he said yesterday that he was weighing up his options.

''Obviously I just need to sit down and think about what's happened,'' Potter said.

Coburg has slumped to third-last on the ladder after last week's loss to Frankston. Potter admitted that the news of its split with Richmond and coaching changes had had an impact on the morale of the group.

Potter will coach his last match for Coburg against Geelong today. He said the club was hopeful it could survive in the competition after its split with Richmond.

VFL Round 21 (with tips in capitals)

Today: Collingwood v CASEY SCORPIONS, 1pm, Victoria Park; PORT MELBOURNE v Bendigo, 1.10pm, North Port Oval; WILLIAMSTOWN v Sandringham, 2pm, Burbank Oval; GEELONG v Coburg Tigers, 2pm, Simonds Stadium.

Tomorrow: Northern Blues v WERRIBEE TIGERS, 2pm, Visy Park.

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Observations on football commentary

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FOOTY commentary is a demanding discipline and any criticism of it should be appropriately respectful and circumspect, in all probability.

However, forgetting all that garbage and just saying what's on your mind is also a possibility. The ensuing observations exclusively represent the viewpoint of one person who finally cracked under the weight of all the verbal confetti.

A certain degree of self-confidence can be the foundation for a challenging and fulfilling life, or you can over-egg the pudding in that regard and come out sounding like Brian Taylor and Luke Stifler, err, Darcy, on Seven's Saturday night footy.

David King apparently speaks exclusively in windy platitudes that mostly tell us lord knows what. This may be due to clothing-related oxygen deprivation. He needs to stop working the chest so much at the gym or Fox Footy has to start buying him larger jackets.

You know that type of movie where the guys are set for a monumental night out of ill-advised and disreputable high jinks and then, at the last minute, one of the buddies turns up with some gangling gawky stranger and says, "Hope you don't mind, guys - he's my girlfriend's younger brother." Anyway, on a completely separate note, so what about that Basil Zempilas?

Bruce McAvaney, he asks a lot of questions, doesn't he? Most of them are really statements, aren't they? It's an exceptionally annoying verbal quirk after a while, isn't it? You'd think someone in charge would have said something to him about it years ago, wouldn't you?

On all footy commentary evidence available to hand, that Matthew Campbell must make a hell of a nice cup of coffee around the office. Legendary boxing ring announcer, though. As he once memorably introduced a certain West Australian boxer: "Danny - the Green Machine - MEAN!"

Youngsters may complain less about "dad jokes" if they had their grandfathers around more so they could hear how much worse their jokes are. Or they could tune into SEN when Kevin Bartlett is on, when you hear more grandpa humour than the Geneva Convention would have deemed acceptable. Incidentally, if you were wondering, that big clunking sound you heard around 10 weeks ago was Australia reaching its absolute national maximum capacity for KB publicly discussing his prowess in fantasy football competitions.

Finally, statisticians should be not seen AND not heard. They only tend to get this about halfway right on the radio.

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