Fraser ready for shot at Cats - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fraser ready for shot at Cats

By Adam Cooper 04/04/2009 08:35:56 PM Comments (0)

Eighteen months ago Collingwood ruckman Josh Fraser was an injured onlooker in the 2007 preliminary AFL final, helplessly watching as Brad Ottens dominated to steer Geelong into the grand final.

On Thursday when the Magpies take on the Cats there'll be a role reversal of sorts with Ottens to miss the game courtesy of a knee injury sustained against Richmond while Fraser will be fully fit and looking to continue his run of good form.

Fraser was one of the most influential players in Saturday's 53-point win over Melbourne at the MCG, with 25 disposals, 26 hit-outs and a goal.

His ability to gather his own hit-outs and send the ball his side's way with a quick kick was instrumental in the Magpies exerting more pressure on the Demons after quarter-time.

Strengthening the ruck division would have been high on Collingwood's wishlist before the season began, although coach Mick Malthouse was reluctant to heap too much praise on the 27-year-old former No.1 draft pick.

"I thought Josh was pretty good all day," he said.

Although Melbourne duo Paul Johnson and Jake Spencer are well off the league's best ruck team, Fraser has always been regarded for his strong work ethic, which will be tested by the Cats.

"Some people crave that (plan of) go for it, go off, go again and come off," Malthouse said in regard to Fraser's big workload on Saturday.

"There are others who just like a bit of extra time to establish what they want to do and it's going to be players who can withstand that type of pressure and intensity who determine their own maneuverability on and off the ground." In a further boost for the Magpies, key forward Anthony Rocca took another step towards an AFL recall with a solid game for the club's VFL side.

Rocca booted a goal and moved well in the Magpies' VFL loss to Geelong, and in three quarters showed he had overcome an ankle problem.

Although Malthouse said he had to be mindful of managing players in a short break, he appeared keen on Rocca returning when asked if John Anthony's four goals made it hard to squeeze the veteran in.

"Not at all, it makes him very easy to pick him," he said.

Malthouse said there was room for three big forwards - Rocca, Anthony and Travis Cloke - in the side, depending on the opposition.

"It may well be that Jack Anthony is 25 to 30 per cent of the time well outside 50, and Travis is 35 to 40 per cent well back (up the ground), it's horses for courses," he said.

Collingwood are confident Dale Thomas will overcome a virus, but must wait on defender Heath Shaw, who was reported for rough conduct.

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