Collingwood's youth excites AFL great - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Collingwood's youth excites AFL great

By Adam Cooper 14/06/2008 01:16:15 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood AFL great Gavin Brown is excited by what he sees of the young Magpies.

He admits their emergence reminds him of the successful rebuilding of the team he played in.

Ahead of Sunday's MCG blockbuster against Carlton, Brown said the improvement of Scott Pendlebury, Dale Thomas and Martin Clarke, plus the arrival this season of Nathan Brown and Sharrod Wellingham, was similar to the rebuilding Collingwood began a generation ago, which resulted in the 1990 premiership win.

"It's fantastic to watch them come through and put their stamp on the game and continue to improve," said Brown, who works directly with younger players in his role as development coach.

"Whenever you're in a bit of form and playing some really good footy it always brings back good memories, I guess, of our successful era.

"But there's a long way to go and we're only halfway through the season, so you can't get too excited even though we're playing some pretty good footy."

A crowd of 70,000 is forecast to attend the clash between the arch rivals.

Sixth-placed Collingwood have won their past four games, while Carlton are buoyant after posting a superb win over Port Adelaide last week that gives the Blues (10th) hope of staying in the race for the finals.

While Collingwood will be out to atone for the 23-point defeat to Carlton in round four, Brown said the main challenge for the Magpies was to maintain their recent high standards.

"We've certainly improved from when we played them last," he said.

"We're in some pretty good form at the moment, so it's a matter or continuing on and making sure we keep improving."

Brown also backed another young player, defender Harry O'Brien, to be keen for a return clash against Carlton full-forward Brendan Fevola, who booted seven goals in the clash two months ago.

"Knowing Harry there's certainly no doubt about that," he said.

"(Coach) Mick (Malthouse) will have his options in place and will start off with who he thinks would be our best match-up, but there's no doubt that Harry O'Brien would love the opportunity to have another go at it.

"Having said that, I didn't think Harry did too bad a job last time.

"The ball was going in there pretty freely and quickly and he won a few of his contests, but there was some he couldn't do much about."

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