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Pendlebury concerned about Kangas' coach

By Sam Lienert 03/05/2010 06:30:23 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood midfielder Scott Pendlebury expects to be a piece in a chess match as North Melbourne coach Brad Scott takes on former mentor Mick Malthouse on Saturday night.

Scott was Collingwood's midfield coach under Malthouse before taking over the Kangaroos and Pendlebury said he knew plenty about the Magpies' players and set-ups.

"He's going to know a fair bit about us, so it's going to be another good challenge for us," the Collingwood vice-captain said.

"... Obviously he's going to know a fair bit about our structures, so it's going to be a fair chess match out there."

Pendlebury said the match-ups Scott instigated would give an interesting gauge of his assessment of Magpies' players.

"As a few of the players said, they'll get to see who he rated from our side and who he didn't."

But Pendlebury said opposition sides were finding it hard to restrict Collingwood's midfield this season, given their growing depth.

In second spot on a 5-1 record, the Magpies look notably stronger than the side thrashed by Geelong in a preliminary final last season.

Pendlebury said their ability to rotate numerous in-form midfielders was a key reason.

He said ex-St Kilda captain Luke Ball had been a big plus, along with the development of youngsters Dayne Beams, Sharrod Wellingham and Steele Sidebottom, and Dale Thomas' increased consistency.

"It's good to have guys in there that we can spread the load," he said.

"I don't think too many sides have sat on blokes through the midfield, because we rotate so heavily."

The capacity for those players to move forward has also made their attack hard to blanket, as shown by 13 goal kickers booting 24 majors in Sunday's impressive 53-point win over Carlton.

Pendlebury said the bonus was selection pressure, with experienced players such as Tarkyn Lockyer, Shane O'Bree, Leigh Brown and John Anthony pushing hard in the VFL.

He said the Magpies were pleased with their season start and heartened by the way they resisted a Blues challenge then powered away on Sunday.

But he downplayed suggestions that the club deserved premiership favouritism.

"I'd like to hear it in round 22, but it's round six and you can't get ahead of yourself."

Pendlebury expected a fierce test against a Kangaroos side in which he recognised some Scott traits.

"It's going to be a tough contest, a lot of contested footy, probably a lot of stoppages as well," Pendlebury said.

"They played well on the weekend against Melbourne and they've got a great list of young players, they're pretty exciting."

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