Mum motivates Magpies; Hawks coach gets COVID; Petracca scans clear; Thomas returns to Roos
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In today’s AFL Briefing, your daily wrap of footy news:
- Beau McCreery’s mum, Julie, was cast as the inspirational speaker ahead of the Magpies’ massive win over the Giants on Mother’s Day.
- Christian Petracca has declared himself a certain starter for Melbourne’s Friday night showdown with top-four rival Port Adelaide.
- Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell has COVID-19, but the Hawks are confident he will recover in time to face fellow cellar-dwellars West Coast.
- The AFL exile is over for North Melbourne’s troubled utility Tarryn Thomas.
‘Blow your mammas a kiss’: Magpies reveal special address
Beau McCreery’s mum, Julie, was cast as the inspirational speaker ahead of the Magpies’ massive win over the Giants on Mother’s Day.
Collingwood released a video of Julie McCreery’s speech to the players before Sunday’s game, when she urged them to “go out there and rip it up”.
“Righto boys,” she told the players. “Go out there, make us proud, believe in yourselves, believe in each other, chase that ball, tackle hard, win those contests, and when in front of the goals, make it count.
“And when you do, blow your mammas a kiss.
“Go out there and rip it up, boys.”
Magpies coach Craig McRae said on Sunday that Mrs McCreery’s speech fit into his mantra of keeping the pre-match meetings light and fun in nature.
“It was fantastic. She’s got good character,” McRae said. “We like to keep our meetings match-day light, particularly the first bit of it, find some sense of humour amongst it. I’m not that funny, but I try to [be]; and then we get serious.
“Part of the start of every meeting has a sense of humour trying to be attached to it.”
Petracca to face Power
Christian Petracca has declared himself a certain starter for Melbourne’s Friday night showdown with top-four rival Port Adelaide.
The 2021 Norm Smith medallist hurt an ankle late in Saturday’s demolition of Hawthorn while being tackled by Hawks captain James Sicily, and underwent scans the following day.
But Petracca was adamant on Monday the setback would not stop him taking his place against the fourth-placed Power at Adelaide Oval.
Jacob Koschitzke tackles Christian Petracca.Credit: Getty Images
“I’m all good – a little bit sore,” Petracca told KIIS 101.1 FM.
“I just got caught in a tackle. James Sicily tackled me at the end, when I handballed it to Bayley Fritsch, but all good. I got a scan yesterday, and it’s all clear.
“It was at the side of my foot, so it’s like a rolled ankle, but it’s not really – it’s annoying.”
Petracca is dealing with some swelling in the joint, but said after some initial concern he realised it was not serious.
“It’s nothing that I don’t usually expect during a game, so I’ll be playing [against Port Adelaide],” he said.
“I was a bit nervous because anything to do with feet scare the hell out of me.”
Petracca is enjoying another strong season, averaging 29 disposals, 13 contested possessions, eight inside 50s and six clearances for the Demons, who have won seven of their nine matches.
Hawks coach recovering from COVID-19
Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell has COVID-19, but the Hawks are confident he will recover in time to face fellow cellar-dwellars West Coast.
The Hawks confirmed Mitchell had tested positive but was doing well and recovering at home.
Mitchell’s assistants will take the reins at training during his absence, but Hawthorn hope Mitchell will return before Sunday’s game in Launceston.
No coaches have missed a game through COVID-19 this season, though several were sidelined throughout 2022.
No other football department members or players had tested positive as of Monday morning.
The league no longer has the stringent testing requirements that marked the 2021 and 2022 seasons, but the Hawks were monitoring their players and staff.
West Coast and Hawthorn will both attempt to claim their second win of the season when they meet at UTAS Stadium.
Hawthorn sit bottom of the ladder, with West Coast 17th and just 0.5 per cent separating the bottom two teams.
The loser of Sunday’s game will also likely be the favourite to claim the wooden spoon, though two-win North Melbourne are also in the mix, and therefore first dibs on touted No.1 draft pick Harley Reid.
Thomas returns to North Melbourne
The AFL exile is over for North Melbourne’s troubled utility Tarryn Thomas.
The 23-year-old’s career was in the balance after he was stood down by the club for a second time in March amid concerns about his behaviour towards women.
Thomas, who hasn’t played an AFL game since round 15 last year, is returning to the elite program on Monday afternoon with the backing of teammates and Kangaroos hierarchy.
Tarryn Thomas. Credit: Getty Images
North’s co-captain Jy Simpkin says he’s comfortable with Thomas returning.
“He is coming into the club later on today,” Simpkin told reporters on Monday.
“Tarryn has done everything he can outside the club to continue to get better and work off and tick off what he had to.
“I spoke to him a few times, and I’m comfortable with where he’s at and looking forward to having him back.”
Coach Alastair Clarkson last Friday said Thomas had been “progressing really well with the program that was put in place for him in the last four to six weeks”.
Thomas was charged in January with threatening to distribute an intimate image and faced court in March. The case will return to Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court on July 18.
In February, he faced two counts of violating a court order, but those charges were dropped.
In March, North reported further allegations of inappropriate behaviour involving Thomas to the AFL’s integrity unit.
Last month, the 57-gamer was fined $5000 by the club, which made him donate a further $5000 to road safety, after posting a video to social media showing him behind the wheel of his drifting Mercedes with his feet on the dashboard.
Thomas is due to face court later this year on an unrelated charge of driving with a suspended licence.
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