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Magpies ready for Cats this time

By Sam Lienert 05/09/2010 02:52:38 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood say they have no concerns about the likely prospect of taking on Geelong in an AFL preliminary final for the third time in four seasons.

The Cats have twice denied the Magpies grand finals appearance in the past three years, thrashing them by 73 points in a preliminary final last year and snatching a five-point thriller in 2007.

On both occasions Geelong went on to claim the premiership the following weekend.

Geelong are strongly favoured to down Fremantle in Friday night's semi-final at the MCG and set up another clash with the Magpies, who belted the Western Bulldogs by 62 points on Saturday night.

But Collingwood defender Alan Toovey said memories of past finals campaigns were irrelevant to the current Magpies, given their strong form this season.

"In a prelim you're going to play a pretty good team, you're not going to play a poor team to get into a grand final," Toovey said on Sunday.

"We've played them before in prelims and haven't done too well.

"But this year we've played a lot better and it's a different team, different year, so we're not too worried."

Collingwood can draw on a recent win over the Cats, by 22 points in round 19, turning around a six-goal loss from round nine.

"(It gives us) a bit of confidence, we've played well all year, against different teams, we've played well against the Saints and Geelong," Toovey said.

"So any team we're going to play, I think we're pretty confident in what we're doing with our structure and how we match up with teams.

"So it doesn't really matter when we play them, as long as we play well."

The Magpies have replaced Geelong as premiership favourites after the weekend's results, with St Kilda now second in betting, after holding out the Cats by four points on Friday night.

Helping Collingwood's cause is some bright news on the injury front.

Midfielder Sharrod Wellingham rolled his ankle against the Bulldogs, in their only concern to arise from the match.

But the Magpies were confident he had not sustained any serious damage and will be fit to play in their preliminary final.

"He seemed pretty confident he'll be back," Toovey said.

"I think he'll just be icing up a fair bit and he should be right."

Veteran key defender Simon Prestigiacomo should also be available, after missing three games with a thigh injury.

But he will be far from a certain inclusion, with young key backmen Ben Reid and Nathan Brown having performed solidly.

The one blip for Collingwood was again their kicking for goal, although a return of 17.22 against the Dogs did not become a problem given their dominance.

Toovey acknowledged inaccuracy had cost teams finals in the past, but said the Magpies were doing all they could to resolve the issue.

"We practice it at training, I think the things that we're doing, we've just got to keep working on it and hopefully the results come."

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