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GWS coach McVeigh stands by criticism

3 minute read

Mark McVeigh has doubled down on comments made about all but eight of his players last week as the Giants look to bounce back against the in-form Essendon.

Assistant coach MARK MCVEIGH speaks to media during the Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL training session at MCG in Melbourne, Australia.
Assistant coach MARK MCVEIGH speaks to media during the Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL training session at MCG in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Mark McVeigh says he stands by the stinging comments he made after GWS were thumped by Sydney last week.

The Giants interim coach delivered a brutal assessment of his team's performance in the Sydney AFL derby which they lost by 73 points last Saturday, and also questioned whether some players had "checked out".

McVeigh replied with an emphatic "no" when asked if he had any regrets in going public with his criticisms and concerns after the loss to the Swans.

"The thing that allows me to have these strong conversations is my relationship with the players. Anything that's said it's not like they haven't heard it before," McVeigh added on Thursday.

"Absolutely I stand by my comments and off the back of it I've had some amazing feedback from the players and had some really good conversations."

McVeigh named only eight players after the match that "went to the wall" against the Swans, notably leaving out 14 others including rumoured trade targets Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper.

The axe has fallen on Lachie Ash, Callum Brown and Xavier O'Halloran for Saturday's clash with Essendon at Marvel Stadium, while Jacob Wehr will miss several weeks with a calf injury.

Co-captain Stephen Coniglio, Lachlan Keeffe, Kieren Briggs and Jake Riccardi all come into the side.

The Bombers welcome back star duo Darcy Parish and Andrew McGrath.

McVeigh this week presented to the GWS board as he seeks the senior coaching job full-time, but he is up against four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson and highly rated assistant coaches such as Adem Yze.

"I presented and you can only do your best. Now it's up to the club," McVeigh said.

"I'll just continue coaching the best way I possibly can."

The Giants face the in-form Bombers who have won four of their past five matches and have the dangerous Jake Stringer looking back to his best.

Stringer kicked five goals against North Melbourne to make it 10 majors in his past three matches as he returns to top form with only a handful of games remaining.

"The way Jake started and set the tone for us was really important for him but also for us," Bombers coach Ben Rutten said.

"Throughout the early stage of this year he had some interruptions, now he's starting to get into a nice rhythm with training and backing it up with his games.

"All players need that but I think Jake in particular benefits from it."

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