Magpies lining up to replace Pendlebury - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies lining up to replace Pendlebury

By Sam Lienert 09/09/2009 05:06:02 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood assistant coach Mark Neeld says several in-form midfielders are vying to replace injured star Scott Pendlebury for Saturday night's AFL semi-final against Adelaide.

He says it is an area in which the club must lift if they are to keep their season alive.

Pendlebury fractured his fibula early in last Sunday's loss to St Kilda and is not expected back until the grand final at best.

Neeld says while the club does not have a player of Pendlebury's talent on standby, midfielders Sharrod Wellingham, Marty Clarke, Ryan Cook and Danny Stanley are all in form.

Stanley picked up 34 disposals and four goals, as well as leading the clearance count, in Saturday's 115-point VFL elimination final win over Casey, with Cook also having 34 touches.

"There's a number of midfielders that played really well, that will come under strong contention for a place in the AFL side," Neeld said.

"Scott's a very good player, we haven't got Scott Pendlebury mark two running around the VFL side, however we've got players that we think can come in and play the role that Scott's been playing."

They will need to do it well.

The Magpies struggled to win the ball without Pendlebury, their premier clearance player, in their round 22 loss to the Western Bulldogs and most of the Saints' clash.

"It's certainly something we've noticed," Neeld said of their low disposal rate.

"All you have to do is look at the stats sheet, we've been well down in a number of areas."

He said the forwards should subsequently not carry the blame for the seven goal return against the Saints.

"It's very, very difficult to assess the forwards when you have only had low-30s inside 50s," he said.

"We get that number up to 45-50 and then I think you can get a true assessment of how they're going."

Neeld said ruckman Cameron Wood would come into selection contention, along with small forward Brad Dick, who kicked five goals in the VFL.

Veteran forward Anthony Rocca, who injured his ankle against the Saints, remains a chance to play, despite not joining Wednesday's main training session.

Meanwhile, Neeld poured cold water on speculation the Magpies might chase Essendon captain Matthew Lloyd for next season.

"It would be unlikely to be discussed that we would be targeting a 31-year-old captain of an opposition AFL club," he said.

"We are looking at promoting youth in our forward line, it's quite a youthful area, I would highly doubt that's going to be discussed at our list management meetings."

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