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Sheedy stresses player welfare is first priority

Date

David Polkinghorne

GREATER Western Sydney coach Kevin Sheedy will continue to put player welfare ahead of premiership points.

Sheedy rested a raft of experienced players including Dean Brogan, Chad Cornes and Rhys Palmer for the 42-point loss to the Western Bulldogs and said he'd continue to do so when players were sore.

GWS had its best chance of winning against the Bulldogs yesterday, leading at quarter time and only going down by seven goals.

If they hadn't rested some of their older heads things could've been much different.

''They've been rested because they're sore, go any further and they've broken down that's bad coaching … the players' welfare is the most important, not winning this game at the moment,'' Sheedy said.

He predicted most of the experienced players would return to play Carlton at Etihad Stadium next weekend.

The master coach is mindful of the big losses the Gold Coast suffered in 2011 in its first AFL season and he wanted to avoid similar heavy defeats for his young team.

He'll rotate his players to ensure they have as many AFL-hardened bodies available to play against the top teams.

''We've got a big game coming up against Carlton. Round six last year the Gold Coast team got belted by about 139 points by the Bombers and that's a hard one to come back from - and that was after a win,'' he said.

''We're trying to protect the performances [of our young players] and build certain teams for certain sorts of clubs because every club you play is different - different styles of game, some are more experienced, some aren't.'' Irishman Setanta O'hAilpin is another experienced campaigner on the GWS list.

The former Carlton forward has been sidelined with a calf injury and is a chance of a recall to play his old club.

He kicked three goals in the Giants reserves in the NEAFL yesterday morning.

''He's played a few games now and he knows the Carlton team. We've got a few people around the club that know the Carlton team, so we'll get them to do a bit of a report on the make-up [of the Blues]. They've had a terrific win over in Perth so we've got to get out there and play very well against a top-four side,'' Sheedy said.

Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney will get Ryan Hargrave (hip injury) and Daniel Giansiracusa (rested) back to face Collingwood next week.

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