Thursday, 21 June 2012
Melbourne AFL coach Mark Neeld, in keeping with his public image as a stern disciplinarian, is trying to brush aside the Tom Scully talk as a media beat-up.
His opposite number Kevin Sheedy - whose Greater Western Sydney team including ex-Demon Scully will take on Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday - has been happy to stir the pot and generate interest in Scully's grudge match.
But for Neeld, whose 16th-placed side are in the rare position of going into Sunday's game as favourites, it's all about business, not show business.
Neeld says 2009 No.1 draft pick Scully, who walked out on the Demons after two seasons to accept a reported $6 million offer to join GWS, has become just another opposition player.
Demons midfielder Nathan Jones is encouraging fans to barrack against Scully. Jones says it's all good fun and will help build up a rivalry between the two clubs.
Sheedy the showman has taunted fickle Demons supporters to drag themselves away from a weekend at the snow to watch Scully take on his old side.
But for Neeld, it's a non-issue.
"There's a lot of talk by you guys about Tom Scully. Not a lot of talk by us," Neeld told a media conference on Thursday.
"He had a really good duel with Brett Deledio last week.
"I've never met Tom. He seems like a young talented player who runs a fair bit, has got good skills and he's playing for the opposition on Sunday."
GWS co-captain Callan Ward faced the same pressure when the Giants clashed with his former side Western Bulldogs in Canberra in round five.
"It's a big game for him," Ward told AAP.
"When I played the Bulldogs I had mates there and I'm sure Tom's the same with Melbourne. They all understand his decision.
"They (Demons players) will be getting into him a little bit, but it's all part of the fun and we'll help Tom out on the day."
Ward suggested Scully was professional enough to handle it for one week.
The Giants gave an impressive display last week in losing by two goals to Richmond at Showground Stadium, with No.1 draft pick Jonathon Patton kicking a goal and taking four marks in his long-awaited debut following knee surgery in January.
Neeld said young key forwards Patton and Jeremy Cameron, who booted three goals last week for a total of 18 this season, were serious players.
"We saw enough in one game of footy to say okay, he (Patton) is pretty good," Neeld said.
"The other young fellow Cameron, he has been performing at a consistent level for quite a number of weeks.
"They're serious players, no doubt."