Cause for optimism for Collingwood - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cause for optimism for Collingwood

By Adam Cooper, James Dampney and Steve Larkin 27/06/2010 07:20:42 PM Comments (0)

Another big-game win has given Collingwood the confidence to believe they can match Geelong and St Kilda in the battle for the 2010 AFL premiership.

The Magpies convincingly beat Sydney by 25 points on Saturday night at ANZ Stadium to move to third spot on the ladder, half a game behind Geelong and St Kilda.

The Saints also closed the gap on the reigning premiers with an impressive 24-point win in the wet at the MCG on Friday night, after they trailed by 16 points at half-time yet kept the Cats goalless from there on.

Adelaide won the remaining game on the second weekend of the split round 13, as they ended Melbourne's faint hopes of reaching the finals with a 44-point victory at AAMI Stadium.

Collingwood dominated Sydney throughout yet squandered their chance of posting a bigger win through their achilles of bad finishing in the 13.18 (96) to 10.11 (71) win.

Collingwood's win was their ninth straight over Sydney.

The Pies fell well short of matching it with Geelong and St Kilda earlier this season, but there was cause for optimism on Sunday as acting skipper Scott Pendlebury believed his side had the capabilities to turn the tables later in the season.

"Yeah definitely. On both times we've played those sides this year we've stood up, but a few lapses in concentration have cost us those games," he said.

"It wasn't a physical thing, it was more a mental thing.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge. We're lucky enough that we get to play them again this year."

Pendlebury said the Magpies had been encouraged by maintaining their focus against Sydney, which they did not manage against the Brisbane Lions (lost), Western Bulldogs (won) and Melbourne (draw) before the break.

"We felt as a side last night we were turned on for four quarters and really played the way we want to play," Pendlebury told Fairfax radio.

Teammate Dale Thomas was also hopeful Collingwood were nicely placed for a strong run to the finals.

"We're on track for where we want to be at right now, and we're doing the things right that we want to be doing right," he said.

St Kilda gained some redemption for last season's decider by posting their fifth straight win, 10.10 (70) to 6.10 (46).

There could be even greater confidence within the Saints camp this week if skipper Nick Riewoldt pushes for a return from the hamstring tendon injury he suffered in round three.

Geelong should also be bolstered this week, as midfielders Joel Corey and James Kelly and half-forward Paul Chapman return.

But both sides face an anxious wait on Monday, as the stoush between Geelong forward Steve Johnson and St Kilda backman Steven Baker will be scrutinised by the match review panel.

Adelaide's 16.21 (117) to Melbourne's 11.7 (73) win was only their fourth of the season, but Crows coach Neil Craig said the future remained bright despite the Crows being poised to miss the finals for the first time since 2004.

"The club is in good hands with the playing group. Our supporters shouldn't worry or be anxious," he said.

"They (the players) will still take time to develop ... (but) the club is in good hands.

"We have got to try and make sure that we don't see big swings in consistency, particularly in attitude, that is where we need to be really strong with the playing group."

Adelaide's win moved them up one spot to 14th, while Melbourne remain 13th.

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