DUAL North Melbourne premiership player David King believes Jeremy Howe’s blunt assessment of his Collingwood teammates was uncalled for, saying the high-flying defender is “part of the problem” at the Magpies.
Howe said the Pies were carrying too many passengers following his side’s uninspiring loss to St Kilda on Sunday in a performance marred by the side’s lack of pressure and poor foot skills.
“As a team, we’ve got blokes that aren’t performing for four quarters,” Howe told AAP post-game.
“They might perform for two quarters and then die out of the game. We’ve got too many blokes like that at the moment and it’s costing us.”
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But King said it was a mistake for Howe to separate himself from the group, especially after being involved in two contrasting incidents within 60 seconds of each other against the Saints.
King highlighted the incidents on Fox Footy’s On The Couch. The first one showed Howe taking a typical high-flying mark over Saint Blake Acres — accompanied by some choice words in Acres’ direction following the grab — before the Magpie was out-bodied by Tim Membrey in a one-on-one contest around one minute later.
“They needed a fight, they needed him to fly in and get a fist and diffuse that high ball coming. He couldn’t do it,” King said on Monday night
“He shouldn’t separate himself from the issue — he’s part of the problem.
“As good as he is as an intercept marker, he needs to fight the fight when he’s one-on-one like that and it’s happened far too often this season.”
Hawthorn legendary goalkicker Jason Dunstall said Howe’s teammates had every right to be upset with him.
“Maybe he’s chosen his words poorly and I hope that’s the case, but you’ve got to get some solidarity in the way you talk about ‘us’ as a group,” Dunstall said.
Howe’s comments, however, would be the least of Pies coach Nathan Buckley’s issues at the moment, with the side being slammed for its inefficiency by foot, especially forward of centre.
King pointed out the Pies’ big disposal numbers — they’re ranked fourth in the league for disposal differential (+29.2) — and their inability to make it count on the scoreboard afterwards.
The Pies are averaging 39.7 disposals per goal — ranked 18th competition and almost 20 disposals more than top-ranked Geelong — while they also have the worst inside 50 to goal conversion rate in Champion Data history.
“That’s just out of control,” King said.
Saint’s horror double clanger0:32
AFL: St Kilda’s Blake Acres would love to have this one back.
“The issue is in their forward 50. I still don’t know why they say ‘let’s correct the forward 50 for one week, make that damaging and let’s just see if it work’.”
King said the Pies desperately needed a “reference point” inside 50.
“Put (Ben) Reid there, put Howe there — I know they’ve been great down back, but they need to correct one area at a time,” King said.
“It’s what’s best for the team that takes precedence. Too quickly they’ve said Jeremy himself is a better player down there, so let’s play him down there. No, he should be as a forward when they need their most impact.”
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SOURCE: newsnow sport