Pies consider going tall against Swans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Pies consider going tall against Swans

By Adam Cooper 02/07/2008 06:45:21 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood are considering deploying three ruckmen against Sydney in Saturday night's crucial AFL game to stretch the Swans' defence for height and overcome the loss of key forward Anthony Rocca.

Josh Fraser's return to training on Wednesday has given the Magpies hope they can consider him at ANZ Stadium, where he could possibly play alongside fellow rucks Chris Bryan and Cameron Wood.

Although sides are usually loath to stack their sides with too many tall players, a fit Fraser could allow Collingwood to use one of the rucks as a permanent tall forward, which would allow the returning Travis Cloke to roam as a running, centre half-forward.

Collingwood assistant coach Brad Scott said the Magpies had to restructure their forward line after losing Rocca and fellow forward Ben Reid to what are likely to be season-ending leg injuries, in the round 13 defeat to the Western Bulldogs.

Those absences could be offset by the return of Cloke, who has served a one-game suspension, Fraser and small forward Leon Davis from injury and key defender Shane Wakelin from a virus.

In more encouraging news, fullback Simon Prestigiacomo is pushing to play his first game of the season after a foot injury sidelined him for the first half of the campaign.

Scott said Collingwood were encouraged at training by Fraser, who has struggled since he suffered a knee injury rucking for Victoria in the Hall of Fame representative game in May.

"His form in that game was really encouraging, that's the best I've seen him jump in the ruck since I've been at Collingwood, so to get him back in that sort of form is really important and for him to do that he has to be fully fit," Scott said.

"So if he's not fully fit then we won't play him.

"We'll assess Josh's fitness and if he's up and going, we may look at playing one of the ruckmen as a key forward.

"Both ruckmen in Wood and Bryan kicked goals last (time), so if Josh comes back in we might look at playing one of those as a permanent forward.

"Anthony Rocca kicked six goals last time (against Sydney) and Sean Rusling (kicked three) ... so we'll have to look at a different structure this time and playing all three ruckmen is a definite possibility."

Scott also acknowledged Collingwood could deploy a small forward line based around Paul Medhurst, Alan Didak and Davis, if he recovered from an ankle problem, as an alternative.

Prestigiacomo is also pushing to return, despite having only played half a game in the VFL the weekend before last, as he has trained well and is desperate to return.

"He can play with injury and he's pretty keen to come back, so we're just having to pull the reins on him a little bit because he's pretty keen to play this week," Scott said.

"We've got to make that decision (on him playing) in the best interest of his welfare."

Collingwood take good form against the Swans into Saturday night, having won the past four games between the sides, including the past two at ANZ Stadium.

Scott said the longer ground at the Olympic stadium suited Collingwood's run, whereas the Swans' game plan was best utilised at the tighter SCG.

"They have more stoppages per game than any other team in the competition, so the SCG probably encourages that," he said.

"The bigger grounds, we're used to playing on, so whether that gives us an advantage or not...

"Sydney really like to squeeze the game up and make it a congested game, so the SCG is conducive to that and ANZ Stadium might be more in our favour."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news