Thomas backs Fraser for finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thomas backs Fraser for finals

By Roger Vaughan 02/07/2010 06:29:03 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood utility Dale Thomas has backed team-mate Josh Fraser to play an important role in their AFL finals campaign.

The Magpies dropped Fraser for last week's win over Sydney and he is an emergency for Saturday night's MCG game against West Coast.

Fraser is one game short of his 200 milestone.

There has been plenty of talk about Fraser's form, with Thomas noting the ruck-forward had played well last weekend in the VFL.

Fraser has also had to adapt to a different role this season and has played eight out of 13 games, with recruit Darren Jolly taking over the No.1 rucking duties.

"I think it's just getting frustrating for Josh, obviously with `Jolls' coming in he's playing a bit of a different role," Thomas told Melbourne radio station Nova 100.

"It takes time to adapt to different roles and especially if you're a bigger player, it's not as easy to cover the ground.

"Fraser is certainly a player we're going to need ... in finals."

Nine matches out from the finals, the Magpies are third and they should consolidate their top-four standing with a win over the lowly Eagles.

But Collingwood's form over the last five weeks has been patchy, with two wins and a draw.

A loss to Brisbane and the draw against Melbourne in that period emphasises the need for the Magpies to be on their guard when playing sides below them on the ladder.

Collingwood are coming off a win over Sydney last weekend and much-improved onballer Sharrod Wellingham said they must avoid any complacency.

"It's definitely something that's come to bite us in the past, but we've had a good win and we're looking to consolidate," Wellingham said.

"It's been one of the things over the last couple of years we've had to work on, with us having to play so many blockbusters and things like that.

"We get built up for the big games and then we tend to lose games we should win, which we've tried to remove this year.

"We've got to make sure we get on top of (West Coast) early and make sure they don't get their tails up."

The Magpies have made one change, recalling John Anthony for injured small forward Brad Dick.

Anthony is usually a forward, but he had an outstanding game in the VFL last weekend as a defender.

Collingwood captain and backman Nick Maxwell remains sidelined with a calf muscle injury.

"I think he will be used as a utility, with `Maxy' out, he probably will spend a bit of time down back," Wellingham said.

"But Jack is a great forward, he loves getting the ball and kicking goals."

West Coast have not won since round eight and they made three changes for the match, recalling Chris Masten, Adam Selwood and Tom Swift.

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