Magpies oozing confidence - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies oozing confidence

By Roger Vaughan 31/08/2010 07:22:21 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood's late-season stutter has done nothing to their strong self-belief as the AFL minor premiers prepare for the finals.

The Magpies have been well off their best in the past fortnight, only beating Adelaide by three points in round 21.

Hawthorn upset them by the same margin last weekend.

Collingwood's 6.18 against the Crows and 13.17 against Hawthorn also highlighted goalkicking as their glaring Achilles heel heading into September.

But coach Mick Malthouse has the utmost faith in his team as Collingwood try to win their first premiership in 20 years.

They will start strong favourites in Saturday night's qualifying final against the Western Bulldogs at the MCG.

"With our draw, we've proven we are good enough to beat all sides and that is without exception," Malthouse said on Tuesday.

"When I look at it and give the top side 16 points and the bottom side one, you add it up, Essendon had the hardest draw - we were (close behind) in second.

"I still recall saying to the player group `if we can make the top four, with this draw, we have a realistic chance and belief we can win it'."

Malthouse and captain Nick Maxwell noted Collingwood had secured a top-four berth before the Adelaide game.

The Magpies coach said the players were not "robots" and some had probably started looking ahead to September.

The pair were at pains not to discount strong performances from Adelaide and Hawthorn, but Malthouse is confident the Magpies can return to top form quickly.

"They (the players) also know how we achieved what we wanted to achieve and the three or four characteristics that are very-much measured on a match day, they were down (against Hawthorn)," Malthouse said.

"Those things are indicative of the way we got to the top.

"As long as we understand why things took place, we can do something about it.

"If it's something mysterious that we have to delve into, we're in trouble."

He added goalkicking would not be a focus at training this week, despite their ongoing inaccuracy.

"We know the situation, it's not as if we have to be reminded about it," Malthouse said.

"Every player who picks the ball up and has a shot at goal, they think they're going to kick a goal.

"It's won us 17 and a half, 18 games - it's not a bad record.

"What we need to do now is to ensure that we don't allow outside factors (to) influence the shot on goal."

Collingwood could regain four of their best 22 for the Bulldogs match, with Leigh Brown returning from suspension.

Alan Didak, Simon Prestigiacomo and Ben Johnson are chances to come back from injury.

"I know Alan is very comfortable and confident, if that's relayed by the medical staff, then we'll have no hesitation in picking him - and if he trains well," Malthouse said.

"He has trained, it's not as if we're coming into tomorrow and we're totally uncertain.

"Alan has trained along with the other boys who have missed out and they've all gotten through.

"Are there going to be changes? I suspect there could be, but I wouldn't know how many."

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