Pies ponder Rocca return for AFL finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Pies ponder Rocca return for AFL finals

31/08/2009 05:47:12 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse is considering resurrecting veteran forward Anthony Rocca's AFL career in the club's finals campaign - perhaps as soon as Sunday's qualifying final against St Kilda.

Malthouse has flagged changes from the team beaten by 24 points by the Western Bulldogs last weekend in a defeat he called "a slap in the face" for his side.

And among those Malthouse says he's seriously considering is 32-year-old Rocca, who has played just three AFL matches in a season wrecked by injury.

Rocca has worked his way back to fitness with a solid month in Collingwood's in-form reserves, and Malthouse did little to douse speculation of a possible return for a player whose career looked oblivion-bound just weeks ago.

"If it means someone being plucked who may not have played the last five or 10 games, and we think they may be crucial to our opportunity for success, we'll pick that player," Malthouse said.

"We now have 30 players to pick from, and that will take place - I can categorically tell you.

"Anthony's going to be in the mix. He performed on a wet track on a big ground down at Geelong (last weekend), he had five or six shots on goal.

"We've got to make some pretty tough decisions, and we're in a position to do that.

"We'll be guided by St Kilda's strengths, and react."

Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell said Rocca was highly motivated to contribute in some way to the Pies' stellar season.

"He's been motivated the whole time and we know how desperate he is to get in and have an impact in our finals campaign," Maxwell said.

"If he's selected, we know he'll give everything he's got."

The Pies' selection dilemmas don't stop with whether to shoehorn Rocca into their forward line.

Malthouse admitted silky onballer Scott Pendlebury was no certainty to play against the Saints after a back spasm forced his late withdrawal from the team which played the Bulldogs.

The club is awaiting medical advice this week on Pendlebury's injury.

Malthouse said he was also considering whether to continue with two ruckmen, or recall veteran Leigh Brown, who missed the Dogs match with a virus.

"There's a lot to ask (about team selection) and we'll have to come up with that solution by the end of the week," Malthouse said.

"There may not be one change. But it could be four or five changes."

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