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Cooney's best years behind him-

2018-06-13 20:57字体:
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Adam Cooney gets a handball off as he's tackled by the Saint's Ben McEvoy.IT WAS feared by supporters, predicted by media commentators and basically confirmed by coaches, but yesterday the man himself made it official. Adam Cooney will never recapture his devastating Brownlow Medal-winning form of 2008. His degenerative right knee won't let him. He has accepted it. Now, he says it's time for Western Bulldogs fans to do the same. ''I suppose the hardest thing is just getting your head around that you're probably not going to get back to your best,'' he said yesterday. ''I have had to temper my own expectations and that's probably been the most challenging thing over the last 12 to 18 months. I haven't been able to get that continuity in training, so I'm not as fit, match-wise, as I have been in 2008, 2009 and even 2010.'' Cooney played just 13 games last season, mostly in pain, and his injured knee would swell badly and keep him hobbling for days after matches. In a purely statistical sense, his disposal, clearance and contested and uncontested possession averages over the last one-and-a-bit seasons are only slightly down on 2008 and 2010. But it's his line-breaking bursts from stoppages and thrilling on-the-run goals and score assists that have been few and far between. After watching footage of himself in action this year, Cooney concluded that he might have lost confidence in his knee to provide those eye-catching runs. ''A couple of times I got the ball and just gave it off, or a quick kick, where I probably could've taken the game on more,'' he said. ''So I think when that confidence comes in the body, I'll hopefully be able to take the game on more.'' His declining impact on games has prompted some to question whether he is working hard enough to return to his best. But listening to Cooney yesterday, the truth about his knee problem hit home. The Dogs' No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft is now, at 26, a role player. ''I don't think it's going to get better, the knee problem,'' he said. ''But sitting down with the coaches and the leadership group, I certainly know the expectations on me from them … it's just to play my role within the group. I'm not getting 30 or 35 possessions like I was a few years ago. ''But if I can keep contributing to the team and working hard defensively and doing a few good things each game, I think it goes a long way to helping the team win.'' Cooney, who had pre-season knee surgery, said he had come to terms with the situation. So far Cooney has made a solid if unspectacular start to the season, gathering, on average, 21 disposals in the first three games. ■Brendan McCartney's ties to former Geelong captain Ben Graham has brought the NFL punter to the Western Bulldogs for a short time. Graham, who also has a connection with Bulldogs assistant coach and former Geelong teammate Steven King, will spend three weeks experiencing the inner workings of the club to gain an insight into areas such as coaching, player development, list management and even the media department. This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.
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