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Burns still no certainty for Collingwood

10/09/2008 04:40:22 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood are not prepared to risk playing a less than fully fit Scott Burns in Saturday night's AFL semi-final against St Kilda.

Burns, 33, is racing against the clock to overcome a calf injury that has sidelined him for the past two matches.

Despite training with the Magpies Wednesday, coach Mick Malthouse said the skipper had yet to entirely convince the club's doctors he was right to play against the Saints at the MCG.

"He's where we thought he'd be so we'll just weigh it up," Malthouse said.

"I don't know whether the doctors are as convinced as you or me so I'll talk to him again tomorrow and either name him (in the team) with coverage (from another player) or name him and be totally confident.

"The process is - medical (people) clear it, player wants to play and then we have a selection dilemma.

"... until (the doctor's) totally convinced, Scott doesn't get past base one.

"If he's comprehensively out, he's out - we won't name him.

"If he's got a chance above 50 per cent, we'll name him and have coverage. If he's in, he's named and he plays."

Key defender Simon Prestigiacomo will also need to pass a medical assessment on his shoulder before being cleared to play in Saturday's match.

Prestigiacomo is likely vying with teammate Shane Wakelin for a spot in the lineup, with Malthouse saying the club would consider the pair's form and history against the Saints when making their decision.

But he insisted the Magpies would not take any player into a final that could not run out the game.

"There's been too many sides burnt in the past," Malthouse said.

"You might get through home and away matches but very few players get through in finals football.

"Any less than 22 players through a match, it compromises your chance at victory."

Malthouse rubbished suggestions about being rated favourites for the clash, saying such talk was meaningless and did not give them an edge.

But despite believing the best form guide for planning against teams was their last month of football, Malthouse admitted the club had looked at a longer history of clashes with St Kilda in preparation for Saturday night's final.

The Magpies have beaten the Saints in their last three meetings, including a 14-point win in round 19.

"We've looked deeper than the last two games against St Kilda," he said.

"We've looked at last year as well, just to see whether there is any trends that have developed and take that into consideration.

"I don't think we can get too over enthusiastic about it but at the same token we can take some confidence that we have played pretty well against them."

Meanwhile Malthouse dismissed reports disgraced star Alan Didak had met him and CEO Eddie McGuire this week to pleas his case to remain at the Magpies.

"I can tell you categorically there's been no meeting with Alan Didak this week," he said.

"He hasn't been at training, he's got the flu so let's put that one to bed."

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