Pendlebury set to start for Collingwood - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Pendlebury set to start for Collingwood

18/09/2009 05:27:31 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse has hinted at more healing miracles than a TV evangelist for his side's AFL preliminary final, with ruckman Josh Fraser floated as a chance to join Scott Pendlebury and play against Geelong.

Midfielder Pendlebury has firmed as a starter for the Magpies on Saturday night - 13 days after he broke his leg and had surgery to insert a plate in his fibula.

Despite heavy strapping on his right leg under compression tights, Pendlebury trained fully and freely for 45 minutes on Friday in the club's final session ahead of the match against Geelong at the MCG.

But just as intriguing is the prospect of the `Pies playing No.1 ruckman Fraser, who missed Collingwood's thrilling win over Adelaide last weekend with a knee injury which has dogged him all season.

Fraser was named as an emergency player outside the Pies' 22-man line-up as doubts remained about his fitness.

Malthouse, either indulging in some mind games mischief or still undecided about his final team, deliberately floated the prospect of a shock elevation for Fraser into the 22 to confront the Cats on match day.

"There's no guarantee he's out," Malthouse said of Fraser.

"He wouldn't be named if he wasn't (fit)."

Fraser looked decidedly proppy at training on his suspect knee, though Collingwood may feel the risk is worthwhile for the extra steel in the ruck he'd provide against Geelong's imposing Brad Ottens.

Malthouse suggested a final decision on Pendlebury, who has been named in the Magpies' 22, would be made just prior to the opening bounce.

But he said "modern medicine and a big ticker" were on the verge of securing the skilled onballer a place in Collingwood's side.

"Right now he'll play. Tomorrow, we'll see," Malthouse said.

"An injury like that, each day you've got to see how the player comes up.

"The side picked has to be able to demonstrate that if something does happen during the game, you can hold up your end of the bargain and play the rest of the game.

"We don't want Scott playing at 80 per cent 100 per cent of the time. We want him close to 100 per cent 100 per cent of the time."

Midfielder Dayne Beams, also named as an emergency as he returns from injury, was another to train with the `Pies without restriction.

Beams had played 17 matches in his debut season before a calf problem ruled him out of the semi-final win over Adelaide.

Malthouse also didn't back away from continuing the mind games he started last weekend in suggesting Geelong were under "excruciating pressure" to win a flag this season.

"Expectations are the biggest load-bearing material that you have entering into elite sport - public expectation, team expectation," Malthouse said in a pointed reference to Geelong's dominance of the past three home-and-away seasons for one premiership to date.

"It's the weight of it. We've seen it with Essendon in 2000 - the best team in 10 or 20 years or so we thought, and a year later Brisbane knock them over."

Geelong have named forward Steve Johnson in their side for his first match since hip surgery last month.

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