Magpies confident Didak will play - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies confident Didak will play

24/04/2009 05:44:29 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood remain confident they will field an unchanged side for the AFL Anzac Day blockbuster against Essendon, despite Alan Didak's absence from training.

The star utility trained by himself before the team's Friday session, but club officials say he will probably play.

The Magpies will give him until the last minute before deciding whether he has recovered sufficiently from leg soreness.

Doubts about forwards Paul Medhurst and Anthony Rocca have diminished after they made it through training without any apparent problems.

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse cannot remember a more even Anzac Day matchup, with the two sides on two wins and two losses.

But the Magpies are coming off a strong comeback win over Brisbane, while the Bombers' skills were woeful at times in their loss last Sunday to North Melbourne.

Essendon responded with five changes, three of them unforced.

They could not consider Hayden Skipworth (hamstring) and Darcy Daniher (groin), with Michael Quinn, Jay Nash and Ricky Dyson also left out of the side.

Nathan Lovett-Murray is back for his first senior game this season and David Myers, Sam Lonergan, Heath Hocking and Leroy Jetta are the other inclusions.

Just as Collingwood will monitor Didak, the Bombers will also make a late call on key midfielder Mark McVeigh.

He came back from an ankle injury last weekend, but pulled up sore.

Collingwood have won their last three Anzac Day matches, the most recent by 73 points, and will start warm favourites.

They will be particularly keen to do well for fullback Simon Prestigiacomo, who plays his 200th senior game.

Injury restricted Prestigiacomo to only two senior games late last season, but so far he has not missed any matches through the NAB Cup or regular season.

It has been an impressive comeback from the 31-year-old, who set himself a personal test to prove he could still cut it in the AFL.

"It's definitely good to be back, I probably had a bit of rough time of it last year and it's good to be getting back and playing some regular footy," he said.

"The whole time I was injured, I just wanted to get back and try to prove to myself I still had something to offer.

"So far, so good ... I'm just looking to continue it on and have a consistent year, play my role for the team."

Prestigiacomo is a quiet achiever and Malthouse on Thursday said he had two jobs - minding the league's top forwards and working in the Humphrey B Bear suit.

"I'm up for sale, aren't I?," Prestigiacomo said, in reference to a story this week that the famous children's character's licence is on the market.

"It's a little bit of a joke - I'm probably not as quiet as what I get made out to be, by a few boys who tell you that.

"I'm still pretty quiet and go about it my own way."

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