Magpies must learn lesson: O'Brien - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies must learn lesson: O'Brien

By Roger Vaughan 10/09/2009 03:51:26 PM Comments (0)

After suffering through a master-class in team defence, Collingwood must apply their painful lessons to free-scoring Adelaide in Saturday night's AFL semi-final.

St Kilda smothered the Magpies in Sunday's qualifying final, restricting them to seven goals and denying them the ball through the midfield.

While Collingwood could not find the ball, the Crows kicked 26 goals in their elimination-final thrashing of Essendon and 27 the week before when they belted Carlton.

Adelaide's most recent loss was in round 19, when the Magpies kept them to nine goals at AAMI Stadium.

"We were able to defend really well, not just as the back six, but as the whole team," said Magpies defender Harry O'Brien.

"That's exactly what we have to do on Saturday night.

"We believe if we stick to those processes, our system can beat their system, but they are in extremely good form."

O'Brien rates Adelaide as the in-form team of the league.

The biggest improvement for the Crows this year has come in attack, where Jason Porplyzia (52 goals), Kurt Tippett (47) and Chris Knights (39) are enjoying strong form.

In round 19, O'Brien played on Brett Burton until he was injured, as well as Porplyzia.

Last Sunday, he was one of the few Collingwood players to enjoy a good game when he kept Saints small forward Stephen Milne quiet.

While the Magpies need a major improvement to beat Adelaide and will have to do without injured midfielder Scott Pendlebury, O'Brien is well aware that this is the sort of scenario where they are often at their best.

"Last year, we beat Adelaide in the first final, when our backs are to the wall, we do respond - that's confidence we can take from being in that position in previous years and previous weeks as well," he said.

"We've got a lot of confidence in the (team) and the work we've done, particularly in the second half of the season.

"The last two weeks, having played the Bulldogs and St Kilda, we know the level we need to get to."

Fellow defender Leigh Brown said fullback Simon Prestigiacomo would definitely bounce back after his poor game on St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt, who kicked five goals.

Collingwood eventually had to move Prestigiacomo off the Saints star.

"Watching him through the years, I don't think I've seen him put in two bad ones in a row," Brown said of Prestigiacomo.

"He was disappointed with his game on the weekend, obviously it's not how he wanted to play.

"But Riewoldt is a fantastic player and he's in some great form.

"We didn't really help out Presti either, which was disappointing as well on the team's behalf - he's keen to bounce back and we know he will."

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