Presti returns to boost 'Pies backline - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Presti returns to boost 'Pies backline

By Adam Cooper 17/06/2008 04:41:02 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood's major problem this weekend could be scoring goals, but the Magpies have at least found a remedy to stopping them - through the returning Simon Prestigiacomo.

Prestigiacomo will play his first game of the season on Saturday, for Collingwood's VFL side, in his first major step towards returning to the AFL after a long-running foot problem.

The Magpies fullback is likely to play a half against Williamstown and could then play a full VFL game the following weekend against the Box Hill Hawks.

Although he is no chance of playing against the high-scoring Western Bulldogs on Sunday, Prestigiacomo could push to return to the senior side on the second weekend of the split round 14, against Sydney at ANZ Stadium.

His return will provide a major boost for the Collingwood backline, which was shown up for a lack of big, strong options last Sunday when Carlton's Brendan Fevola tormented Harry O'Brien and first-year player Nathan Brown on his way to an eight-goal haul.

"We're very happy with that, and looking forward to having him out there," said Magpies football chief Geoff Walsh.

"It's been a lot longer than we hoped it would be, but it'll be nice to have him out there again."

Prestigiacomo's battle against plantar fascia, the tissue which supports the arch of the foot, prompted two bouts of surgery since the end of last season and meant the 193-game veteran only began training a fortnight ago.

Walsh could not say when Prestigiacomo would return to the AFL, but admitted the 30-year-old would benefit from a couple of VFL games.

"It will depend on how quickly it comes to hand, but at least with the VFL side not having the bye it will give him some continuity," he said.

Although the Magpies will again be hard-pressed in defence, against the highest-scoring team in the competition, their shortage of forward firepower looms as their biggest worry against the Bulldogs.

Key forwards Travis Cloke and Anthony Rocca will both miss the game at Telstra Dome.

Cloke pleaded guilty to striking Carlton's Michael Jamison and accepted a one-game suspension offered him by the match review panel, while Rocca is nursing ankle soreness.

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