Jordan De Goey to play for Collingwood Magpies against Gold Coast Suns; Damien Hardwick on Liam Baker’s contract at Richmond Tigers; Ben Rutten on pressure at Essendon Bombers


“I caught up with him on Monday and he seemed like he was in a good place, he was ready to come back and deal with everything that was going on.

“He comes back full of energy.”

Jordan De Goey at Collingwood training on Thursday.Credit:Getty Images

De Goey apologised for his “disrespectful” conduct during the Magpies’ bye round after vision of him partying was posted to social media.

The 26-year-old also revealed he had been diagnosed with ADHD and vowed to make changes to ensure he stays out of trouble.

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The apology, issued via the club, came after De Goey hit out at media outlets on his Instagram page for “the relentless pursuit and persecution of athletes”.

McRae has addressed the situation with De Goey and on Thursday dismissed reports the player had been unhappy with the club’s handling of his latest off-field saga.

“No, not at all,” McRae said. “I met with him and his manager and to be honest, it was about moving past to be able to then step forward.”

De Goey is out of contract at the end of the season and McRae won’t discuss the midfielder-forward’s long-term future publicly, but has issued simple instructions for the rest of the campaign.

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“I want him to get into it and be himself, to be honest, not only in his football but even the stuff outside of football as well,” McRae said.

“He’s been doing a lot of work on that and we’ve seen growth, and clearly he’s got more to do.

“I’m not going to talk about anyone’s contract, not just Jordy’s, but I do talk about what the next 10 weeks looks like.

“It’s about just trying to perform at his best, give to the team and be a good teammate.”

Collingwood are hopeful veteran Howe will only miss one match as they chase a finals berth.

They sit seventh on a congested ladder with a 9-5 record, one win off second spot and one clear of 10th.

AAP

‘Pay the man’: Hardwick keen for Tigers to re-sign Baker

Damien Hardwick is “confident” out-of-contract star Liam Baker will commit his future to Richmond despite overtures from his home state.

Baker, 24, is enjoying a career-best season and is the subject of strong interest from West Coast, who the Tigers host at the MCG on Sunday.

Richmond legend Matthew Richardson this week urged his club to re-sign the 173-centimetre dynamo as soon as possible. Hardwick – who laughed when he called on list manager Blair Hartley to “pay the man” during his weekly press conference – believes it will get done.

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick wants the club to re-sign Liam Baker as soon as possible.

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick wants the club to re-sign Liam Baker as soon as possible.Credit:AFL Photos

“Look, I’m confident,” the three-time premiership coach said on Thursday. “He’s such an important player both on and off the field. He’s a superstar.

“He’s a guy that we brought across [to Victoria] as a rookie, he’d been overlooked in a few drafts but just has been an outstanding player.

“He’s one of those guys – there’s not many of them – as soon as you see Liam you start smiling. He’s just one of those people that makes you feel great about life.”

The versatile Baker has been in superb form when given more midfield time recently, averaging more than 25 disposals a game since round nine. He will command a vastly improved contract than the one-year extension he triggered last season.

Speaking soon after Clayton Oliver inked a new seven-year deal with Melbourne, Hardwick said there is a risk associated with long-term contracts.

But he also praised Oliver’s loyalty to his club in what appeared to be a not-so-subtle pointer to the decision the Tigers would like Baker to make.

AAP

‘We’re not the finished product’: Rutten on Essendon’s horror season

Nell Geraets

Ben Rutten has defended his position at the helm of Essendon, with the embattled coach saying he understands the backlash and criticism aimed at him as the club languishes in 16th place with only three wins in a horror season.

Bombers coach Ben Rutten wants to see his team evolve.

Bombers coach Ben Rutten wants to see his team evolve.Credit:Michael Willson/Getty Images

Club great Matthew Lloyd has said Rutten should be under “enormous pressure”, and Sean Wellman is leading the club review announced by president Paul Brasher in May that would focus on player development, training and support for the coaching group, and recruiting and list management.

“At the moment, it’s too many times that we’ve been beating ourselves,” he told reporters on Thursday morning.

“I think it’s part of the territory. The game we play, it’s a passionate, emotional game of footy. It certainly comes with the territory. I’m really clear what my job is. I know what this group is capable of, you know, and I know I can do it.

“I was driven, I was passionate, I was committed as ever to get us there.”

Rutten said he had had discussions with Brasher, admitting that the team was not perfect and needed regular reviews to aid their progression and development – particularly within their defence.

“We’re not the finished product. We’re not where we want to be consistently enough,” Rutten said. “You can feel we’re as frustrated and disappointed as our supporters and our fans, and we certainly feel for them.

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“We’re constantly looking at how we can potentially do things better. How can we evolve?

“We don’t need to wait to the end of the season to have a look at where improvement lies. It’s an ongoing process. So, we’re going to continue striving to put together the best possible program we can.”

As the Bombers prepare for their clash against Sydney on Saturday – who are sixth on the ladder – Rutten said the players needed to apply more pressure on the field, but he could see improvements.

“The differential in games is important. We tend to play lower stoppage games and there’s plenty more opportunities at stoppages to create higher pressure,” he said.

“I think there has been some improvement in those parts of our game – our tackling, our pressure, our contested ball numbers in particular – over the last five or six weeks.”

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