Magpies' ruck stocks out of the woods - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies' ruck stocks out of the woods

By Steve Larkin 09/08/2009 10:30:18 AM Comments (0)

Collingwood's bid to seal third spot on the AFL ladder will likely be boosted by the return of ruckman Josh Fraser this week.

But expectations surrounding Fraser's imminent return have eased following a sterling performance of his maturing replacement Cameron Wood against Adelaide on Saturday night.

Wood was an influential performer in the Magpies' stirring 21-point away triumph over the Crows, gathering 24 disposals, eight marks and kicking two clutch goals.

Fraser is expected to return against lowly Richmond at the MCG on Saturday from a lengthy spell with a knee ailment.

But Wood's growing stature means the third-placed Pies appear to have found the answer to their often questioned ruck stocks.

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse lauded Wood's effort against the Crows, when he also clearly won the taps against Ivan Maric and James Sellar, as his best at AFL level.

"He's played some very good games, I don't think there is going to be too many in his number of games that he has played so far that are going to be better than that," Malthouse said of Wood.

"He's growing into the position as we thought he would."

Malthouse said Collingwood had "high expectations" for Wood, the 22-year-old who the Pies snared by trading their No.14 pick in the 2007 draft to Brisbane.

"People can't wait to whack you because you have traded a first round pick," Malthouse said.

"He is a first round pick player.

"There is not many ruckmen of that calibre going around that you have to give up to get.

"He's going to gain a massive amount of confidence out of this, but he's still going to have his ups and downs.

"He's a young ruckman, and I mean physically young, mentally probably young.

"Some people mature very early, he's a kid that I think when he fills out his body, he's going to be a tremendous talent because he can mark, he can kick, he can get the ball on the ground."

Collingwood will enter Saturday's fixture against Richmond as firm favourites, as they will the following week against Sydney at the MCG.

The Magpies close their home and away season with a match against the Western Bulldogs, the other side vying for third spot.

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