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Sheedy stops short of wins target

By Kim Hagdorn
21 February 2013 11:44AM EST

PROVEN master coach Kevin Sheedy has pulled up short of declaring just how many games he expects his young Greater Western Sydney unit to win in their second AFL season.

On the brink of releasing his fledgling outfit into the NAB Cup pre-season series against powerhouse Carlton and reigning premiers Sydney, Sheedy claimed his intentions in 2013 is improvement on last year when his young Giants won just two games.

The emerging Giants confront realistic prospects of up to seven or eight wins with a fixture roster that includes two shots at potential cellar-dwellars Gold Coast, Port Adelaide and Melbourne.

The Giants also have double engagements against Sydney as an AFL marketing project to establish a local rivalry, as well as Sheedy's old club Essendon in Rounds 5 and 17.

The four-times Essendon premiership coach even goaded his longest serving coaching adversary Mick Malthouse, who takes charge of Carlton for a first time this year after a season out of the game and his accomplished time at Collingwood and West Coast.

Malthouse heads back into a coaching hot seat in charge of one of the game’s biggest brands and Carlton faithful desperate for premiership glory for a first time since 1995.

He stayed out of coaching last year as a leading media commentator after a decade at Collingwood following his ground breaking achievements at West Coast through the 1990s.

Sheedy with his four Bombers flags, Malthouse with his three titles from two at West Coast in 1992 and ’94 as well as an historic 2010 Pies premiership, boast a combined tally of 1321 games from 58 years in senior coaching between them.

Sheedy and Malthouse go toe-to-toe from rival coaching boxes on Sunday at Blacktown in the opening clash of the triangular series with the Swans. 

“We will play pretty well. The boys have trained very well, so I’m looking forward to it,” Sheedy confessed.

“We have grumpy Mickey Malthouse heading up here.

“He’s a grandfather now and he’s been retired for 12 months. He’ll have to get the rust out of the system, but it will be good to see him up here.”

Sheedy was equally as cagey when asked to elaborate on his assessment for potential wins with his developing Giants this season.

“Obviously to give our players more experience, to get them out there and play somewhere 20 to 35 games which is really important for us,” he said.

“Most coaches would know that once you get into the 50-60 game bracket you’re feeling comfortable and pretty confident about the game of AFL.

“So we’ve got to get these boys out there playing as well as they can for as long as they can.

“From what I’ve seen so far, we’ll play much better longer in games and I think that will give an enormous amount of confidence for this next 12 months.”

Sheedy, 65, enters the final season of his illustrious coaching career.

He is fixed in a succession takeover plan with former Western Bulldogs and Richmond star Leon Cameron who will be Giants senior coach from next season after Sheedy hands over reins of the league’s youngest unit.

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