King's royal show in ruck

RUCK AND TUMBLE: Big Cat Steven King tangles with Bulldog Luke Darcy on Saturday. Photo: GEELONG ADVERTISER  
Monday, May 27

IF Geelong big man Steven King was unsettled by the controversy surrounding his occasional ruck coach Crackers Keenan it didn't show on Saturday.

Against the Bulldogs' duo of Luke Darcy and Daniel Bandy, King reigned supreme.

He dominated the centre ruck and stoppages around the ground to give Geelong first use of the ball.

When he wasn't palming the ball down to Geelong's runners he was plucking the ball from the contest and booting the ball forward for the Cats.

He could not have answered Keenan's critic Sam Newman in a more dramatic manner.

But for a spell up forward in the last quarter, King rucked all day and ended the match with 28 hits outs, 12 kicks, 10 marks and one goal.

Newman used the high rating Channel Nine football show on Thursday night to attack Keenan and call into question his legitimacy as a ruck coach.

He said Keenan was responsible for holding back the big cat's football development.

Aware of the impact of the controversy King had been dragged into, Keenan was quick to call him Friday morning.

He told King to put the matter out of his mind, to turn his phone off and to concentrate on playing the game of his life.

``I said to him don't let this get the better of you, you're here to play football,'' Keenan said.

``I said I just want you to go out and play the best you can.''

Keenan said he had spoken to King Thursday morning about how to tackle the in form Darcy.

``We talked about Darcy and what he needed to do to handle him when he goes forward and back and in the centre bounces,'' he said.

``Kingy was very happy with how it all turned out and I'm pleased he played such a good game and vindicated my position.''