New-look Magpies to face Eagles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

New-look Magpies to face Eagles

By Sam Lienert 04/02/2009 04:24:52 PM Comments (0)

As many as five players are expected to represent Collingwood for the first time in Saturday night's AFL pre-season opener against West Coast at Subiaco.

Ex-Brisbane forward Anthony Corrie and ex-North Melbourne utility Leigh Brown are likely to be among them, along with new draftees Steele Sidebottom and Dayne Beams.

Forward Sean Rusling, on the comeback from a major shoulder injury, is a strong chance to play what would be his first match in almost a year, after training solidly on Wednesday.

New captain Nick Maxwell will lead the club for the first time, while Alan Didak and Heath Shaw are set to make their returns after club-imposed suspensions ruled them out for the last six games last year.

Magpies assistant coach, Mark Neeld, who will take the reins from Mick Malthouse for the game, said the club would name a 29-man squad on Thursday, with 26 to play.

"It will be a mixture of youth and experience, there will be four or five of our new blokes that will be in that squad," Neeld said.

He said Rusling, whose past two seasons have been all but wiped out by two shoulder injuries, had survived several tough tackling drills and was desperate to play, provided he was given the final medical all-clear.

"Sean hasn't missed any of the tackling activities that we've done throughout pre-season, so we would expect if Sean plays that he's right to go," Neeld said.

The intention to blood newcomers will not come at the expense of mounting a serious effort to win.

"All the preparation we do before Collingwood plays a game is to win the game of footy," Neeld said.

"So certainly our meetings and preparation and training we're preparing to win and there's no harm in practising winning footy."

Adding a motivational edge has been some confident pre-game talk from last year's Collingwood skipper Scott Burns, now an Eagles assistant coach.

Neeld said Burns had not missed a chance to warn his former club that the Eagles were in impressive shape, with stars Dean Cox, Daniel Kerr and Darren Glass burning up the training track.

"I think Scott Burns has phoned every single coach that we have and Burnsy's tried to let us know how they're travelling," he said.

"Clearly those three names have been high on Burnsy's report and telling us that they're all in tip-top physical condition, all in tip-top form.

"So we'd be expecting them to play and if you listen to Scott they'll play well."

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