Magpies still a show for finals: Maxwell - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies still a show for finals: Maxwell

By Adam Cooper 18/05/2009 04:25:06 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell believes the Magpies can emerge from their rut and still pose a major challenge in this year's AFL finals.

After Sunday's defeat by Carlton again exposed frailties in attack, the Magpies find themselves languishing in 11th spot, with six of their best 10 players injured and a tough clash against West Coast in Perth to come.

Lose Saturday night's game and one of this year's big fancies will be have a 3-6 win-loss record, most likely two games outside the eight.

In the past three seasons, only one side - St Kilda last year - has come from outside the eight after round nine to play in finals.

But Maxwell said the Pies at least have the advantages of being able to call on returning stars and that, behind the unbeaten Saints and Geelong, the rest of the competition was evenly matched.

"The advantage for us is that because it's so even we know that we're always going to be a chance," Maxwell said.

"We've shown over the last couple of years that even though the team hasn't changed much we can match it with the best of them.

"So all we need to do is get into the finals and then we can have an impact.

"But we can't afford to look too far ahead, we've got to look forward to (playing) West Coast to get the wins back up."

The absence of Paul Medhurst, Alan Didak, Travis Cloke and Anthony Rocca has left Collingwood's forward line bereft of spark and goals, and that impotency was illustrated through a meagre 12 goals in the past two defeats, to the Blues and Saints.

"It's pretty hard to take four class forwards out of any forward line and the guys who have come in, it's pretty tough for them," Maxwell said.

"We're missing a lot of leadership down there, so we're forcing guys to stand up in new positions, but we'll work through it and we'll get over it."

The Magpies are hopeful all of their injured guns, including ruckman Josh Fraser and midfielder Dale Thomas, could press for returns either against the Eagles or Port Adelaide in round 10.

While Collingwood can also draw on a good recent run outside Victoria - they have four of their past five games interstate - they must stay in touch with the top half of the ladder.

"We can't afford to have too many more (losses)," Maxwell said.

"We really need to win this week and they're (West Coast) probably thinking the same thing.

"They're level with us and they would have been disappointed with the (loss to Sydney on the) weekend, so it's a big game."

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