Magpies prepare for 'a helluva fight' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies prepare for 'a helluva fight'

05/06/2009 07:27:41 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood hope to significantly bolster their attack for the Queen's Birthday AFL blockbuster, a match coach Mick Malthouse says will be "a helluva fight".

Key forward Travis Cloke is set to return from a hamstring injury and goalsneak Paul Medhurst is trying to prove he has recovered from his persistent ankle injury.

"All indicators are that things are okay, but you just never know sometimes how they pull up," Malthouse said of Medhurst on Friday.

"Those sorts of injuries, they hit a plateau, everything looks like it's going well and then it stops for some reason and nothing takes place."

Collingwood trained on Friday morning and will have another run on Sunday, before Monday's game against Melbourne at the MCG.

The Demons are last, but are showing strong signs of improvement and No.1 draft pick Jack Watts will make his debut in the match.

Collingwood have won their last two games and Malthouse says it is critical his team do not take Melbourne lightly.

"This is clearly Melbourne's best side for the year, when I look at how it's lined up and the potential within it," he said.

"This will be a helluva fight, this is a great test for us.

"The last two weeks have been good ... this is more than just a Queen's Birthday game for us.

"We need to keep winning."

Malthouse has only seen video footage of Watts in action at under-18 level, but said the teenager had massive potential.

"He's a very, very talented player and deservedly No.1," he said.

"How often do you get a big lad of that size with that much ability in the draft? - a good pick and a very good footballer."

The Magpies coach has also strongly defended Cloke, who has been off his best form so far this season.

"Travis has had a massive amount of pressure put on him, he is a young centre half-forward, the side around him was missing," Malthouse said.

"When you have a lot of experienced players missing from his left and right side and then behind him, it changes the dynamic of the forward line.

"He has to absorb a lot more pressure, so I'd be cautious of saying that Travis is (out of form) - he's not in the form of last year, because he hasn't had the support.

"When that support arrives, Travis will be one of six, as opposed to everyone thinks Travis should win the game off his own boot."

Collingwood's VFL team will also play on Sunday and Malthouse said on Friday it was too early to confirm the team.

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