Winning form is good form: Magpies coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Winning form is good form: Magpies coach

By Roger Vaughan 25/08/2009 05:34:27 PM Comments (0)

Winning remains the only priority for Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse, who fears no-one heading into the AFL finals.

The Magpies are third, having won 12 of their last 13 matches, and will play the fourth-placed Western Bulldogs at twilight on Sunday to end the regular season.

Collingwood will most likely play second side Geelong in week one of the finals, but Malthouse does not care whether their qualifying final opponents are the Cats or top side St Kilda.

On Wednesday, he rejected out of hand any suggestion that the Magpies might have one eye on the qualifying final match-ups when they take on the Bulldogs.

"We are out to win every game of football, we're not here to say `because our next opponent is going to be whoever it's going to be ...'," he said.

"It is simply ... winning form is good form, I don't think there's any such thing as purposely dropping a game or going hell for it.

"If you avoid an opponent coming into a finals series, you've got no confidence in your group - we're not avoiding anyone.

"We will play the Western Bulldogs this week knowing they're in very good nick and whoever we may play the following week, we play - avoidance is a shortcoming."

While there is no doubting Malthouse's attitude one game out before the finals, he gave a curiously open-ended reply when asked whether Collingwood might rest a player or two for the Bulldogs game.

"We will pick the best side that we think is available to us to play a minimum of two finals matches," he said.

The Magpies are superbly-placed for the finals, with minimal injuries to go with their awesome form.

Malthouse said ruckman Josh Fraser pulled up well from his first senior game since round 15, while veteran key forward Anthony Rocca remains in contention for a senior recall.

"It's horses for courses - form is important, who we play obviously is very important and we've got to keep the pressure on the opposition," Malthouse said.

"Can the player do that? In Anthony's case, yes he can, (he's) a good mark, a long kick, very hard at-it, so we'll see."

The vagaries of the draw mean Collingwood might have only six days' break between round 22 and their qualifying final, but Malthouse said the club knew the draw last October.

While he admits the Magpies are not thrilled about playing a Sunday twilight match a week out from the finals, he said they would cope if the break was not seven days.

"Maybe a moving round 22, something that can be moved around, is probably the way to go," Malthouse said.

"I'm sure the league have full control of what's taking place and the inconvenience of it is we think that Sunday afternoon is not flash.

"Once the AFL declared that's when it's going to be, there's no use getting tied up, hooked up, concerned about something you can't change.

"We don't get worried about it."

The league are looking at making the round-22 timetable flexible, but are mindful that up to 5000 fans travel for interstate games.

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