Magpies' coach talks up top-four hopes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies' coach talks up top-four hopes

by Roger Vaughan 03/03/2009 05:08:19 PM Comments (0)

Assistant coach Blake Caracella believes Collingwood has "every chance" to finish in the AFL top four this year.

The Magpies are talking up their premiership credentials but no side has come from outside the top four to win the flag since Adelaide in 1998.

Repeating his sentiments from the club's annual general meeting in December, president Eddie McGuire told journalists on Monday the whole club now sees the flag as a viable goal.

"I've heard about the comments from Eddie and of course we want to win the premiership, the members would be a bit disillusioned if we weren't trying to win the premiership each year," Caracella said.

But Caracella acknowledged the development of the Collingwood playing list over the last few years now meant they were well-placed.

They have made the finals for the last three years.

Caracella played in Essendon's 2000 premiership side and then Brisbane's 2003 flag-winning combination.

"Luck plays a part in any premiership, you have some luck, to some degree," Caracella said.

"But if you have a look at our draft picks over the last few years, there's a lot (of) young talent ... we've got a good mix of players.

"People talk about a window, I'm not too sure about that, but there would be every chance to see us in the top four this year.

"We made the top four two years ago and we just missed last year.

"Our team is young and getting older, so you'd expect us to improve."

Caracella will be the "senior" coach on Friday night when Collingwood play Essendon at Etihad Stadium in a NAB Cup semi-final.

Mick Malthouse is sitting on the bench during pre-season games to give his assistants the experience of running the side during a match.

Malthouse admits he finds the exercise extremely frustrating.

"Mick's got the capability to talk to the senior coach from week to week and we'll find out on Friday," Caracella said.

The former forward also joked he had not coached a team since he was 12 - in basketball.

Caracella added that Paul Medhurst, Sean Rusling and Brad Dick were all strong chances to resume this week, either in the senior side or through the VFL.

Meanwhile, Caracella was coy when asked whether the AFL should bring in substitutes for the regular season.

Malthouse, a big supporter of the concept, said it had been "a revelation" during the NAB Cup.

"You never know what the AFL are going to do ... the interchange over the last 15 years has gone from two to eight now with two substitutes as well," Caracella said.

"Depending on where the AFL wants the game to be taken, obviously if you have more interchange the game is probably going to be a bit faster.

"The AFL wants to make the game a very attractive game to watch."

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