Eagle Cox ready to soar up front v Swans
West Coast veteran Dean Cox is bracing himself to play another big role in the forwards as the Eagles look to cover two gaping holes in Sunday’s crunch AFL clash with Sydney.
Cox was the match-winner with three goals in last week’s come-from-behind win over North Melbourne, with his marking on the lead in the final quarter a highlight.
The 30-year-old has booted 19 goals from 14 games this season to help West Coast fill the massive void left by injured forward Josh Kennedy (ankle).
And West Coast will become even more reliant on the 203cm ruckman against the ladder-leading Swans due to the one-match suspension handed out to premiership forward Quinten Lynch.
Cox said he had enjoyed his stints up front this season, and believed he had improved significantly in the role over recent seasons.
“I’m certainly understanding the role of a forward a lot better than probably I had in 2005 to 2008,” Cox said.
“Having the luxury of sharing the time with Nic (Naitanui) in the ruck, I use that to train on my forward work during the week.
“I’ve worked on building the relationships with the forwards, and just my leading patterns and body work has been the biggest improvement this year.”
With Naitanui spending more time in the ruck, Cox said his long stints up front left him fresher for ruck contests.
“You still cover the kilometres, but it’s just probably the fact you’re not wrestling or jumping into each other that makes the body feel a lot fresher,” the 241-game veteran said.
Suspended midfielder Luke Shuey has copped heavy criticism this week for his ill-disciplined elbow on North Melbourne’s Lindsay Thomas.
The 22-year-old had already been banned earlier this year for an off-the-ball elbow on Fremantle’s Paul Duffield, but Cox was confident Shuey had learnt his lesson.
“It was addressed at the start of the week … that you can’t really go risking your spot in the side by doing stupid acts,” Cox said.
“Luke knows exactly what he’s done. He’s disappointed. He doesn’t need to be reminded by everyone.”© AAP 2013