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Cats to show the 'Pies where they stand

By Roger Vaughan 10/03/2009 07:34:05 PM Comments (0)

Midfielder Dane Swan and his Collingwood team-mates are brimming with confidence, but Friday night's AFL NAB Cup final will show them where they really stand.

Geelong, like the Magpies, will be close to full strength for the pre-season decider.

The strong message out of Collingwood has been that they feel ready for a tilt at the premiership, a sentiment that Swan strongly endorses.

Now they will measure themselves against the Cats, arguably the competition's best side.

"This will probably be the first time (this year) we're going to play against a full-strength AFL side," Swan said.

"It'll be a really good opportunity to see where we're at and see how far we've come.

"Winning form's good form, our preparation has been near-perfect I suppose.

"We haven't lost and we've pretty-much had no injuries to come out of the pre-season, so everything's going along smoothly at the moment."

Collingwood produced one of the performances of last year to hand Geelong their first loss of the season, an 86-point mauling in round nine.

The Cats' only other loss was to Hawthorn in the grand final.

Swan was claiming no advantage over Geelong, saying the Cats would be favourites.

"They've made the last two grand finals, so they've got the edge over us," he said.

"We got lucky early last year, they were pretty flat and we came out and played to our absolute best and they were nowhere near their's, so that's probably why we won pretty easily last time.

"They are the benchmark of the competition, they've won a lot more games than anyone else over the last two years."

Swan was hopeful that captain Nick Maxwell and ruckman Josh Fraser would return to the side for Friday's final.

The Cats are also likely to welcome back several key players, including Jimmy Bartel, Corey Enright and Joel Selwood.

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