Magpies set to see how far they've come - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies set to see how far they've come

By Guy Hand 08/04/2010 07:14:48 PM Comments (0)

Having fallen short of the pinnacle last year, Collingwood are confident their AFL match against red-hot St Kilda on Friday night is the perfect measuring stick of their premiership credentials.

The Saints beat the Magpies in the qualifying final last season before making the grand final, with the other grand finalists Geelong bouncing the Pies a fortnight later in the preliminary final.

Collingwood and the Saints are unbeaten in their opening two matches this season.

But St Kilda have won their past three matches against the Magpies.

Collingwood midfielder Scott Pendlebury believes if the Pies are to earn respect as legitimate flag fancies, they need to beat the Saints at Etihad Stadium.

"They're a great side, they're a team-oriented side, and that's something we aspire to get like," Pendlebury said.

"Hopefully tomorrow night we can match them.

"The sort of side they are, we want to really test ourselves against that quality.

"For us, if we want to be held how we want to be held, we've got to knock these sides off.

"We know we can match it with any side in the competition if we play our best."

The match also pits ex-St Kilda midfielder Luke Ball against his old side for the first time in the home-and-away season.

But with much of the pressure released in the two sides' NAB Cup encounter in February, Pendlebury said his new Collingwood teammate was treating the clash like any other.

"He's a true professional. He's been exactly the same as he has the first two rounds," Pendlebury said.

The Pies have made four changes for the match, with defender Heath Shaw out with a back injury after he failed to train on Thursday.

Collingwood dropped forward John Anthony and youngster Ben Reid, while defender Ben Johnson is out with a knee injury.

But the Pies are confident defender Simon Prestigiacomo has overcome injury to help negate St Kilda danger man Nick Riewoldt.

Prestigiacomo was named in the side after missing the narrow win over Melbourne last weekend with a quadriceps injury.

He trained strongly with his teammates on Thursday - a huge boost as the team prepare to confront the in-form Riewoldt who has been outstanding for the Saints.

"He moved well and should be right," Pendlebury said of Prestigiacomo.

"Most sides struggle with Nick but we're going to back our defence, and hopefully we can shut down the ball use that comes in from their midfield and restrict them that way."

Midfielder Shane O'Bree returns after a week off with a virus, while Brent Macaffer and John McCarthy have been elevated.

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