Magpies pair back for Geelong clash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies pair back for Geelong clash

16/09/2010 05:44:51 PM Comments (0)

The way Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse tells it, last year it was no Scott Pendlebury, no Magpies.

Pendlebury, who collected his first All-Australian jumper this week, missed the 2009 preliminary final with a broken leg.

And Collingwood simply couldn't cover his loss, going down to eventual premiers Geelong by 73 points.

"Through 2006-07-08, if we lost a player we were really hurt by it. Last year we lost Pendlebury," Malthouse said ahead of Friday night's preliminary final against the Cats.

"We couldn't replace a Pendlebury type because we couldn't put (Dayne) Beams or (Steele) Sidebottom into the middle with the confidence that they had the experience to go with Geelong.

"We all look at last year's result and that's why I never say a great deal about injuries, but we were on our knees."

Malthouse, who also watched his side lose to Geelong in the 2007 preliminary final, put a squad of 31 through their paces on Thursday.

He's confident he has made the necessary improvements to the club's depth of talent.

"We're very comfortable and confident that our best football is capable of beating anyone," said Malthouse, who has changed his tune from last year when he felt if Geelong played at their best they couldn't be beaten.

"One of our goals early in the season was to bring as many players into the squad as we could on a sometimes irregular basis to enhance the length of our list," Malthouse said.

"We just felt with the team over history that we know it's a long season and we know that there's going to be casualties."

Casualties can leave a club exposed to a lack of depth, so Malthouse has been playing as many players as possible, if not in the seniors then in specific roles in the VFL.

Malthouse said Paul Medhurst, for example, had switched from small forward to midfielder in the VFL to work on his match fitness in case of a possible promotion.

When Malthouse took over in late 1999, Collingwood had finished bottom and in his first year they improved only one spot.

But remarkably in 2002 they were grand finalists.

"Really the list wasn't that long. We lost Jason Cloke through suspension," Malthouse said.

"Our replacement (Jarrod Molloy) ... wasn't the calibre of Jason.

"This year we've been able to maintain a fairly healthy list coupled with a lot of players playing enough games (32 senior players in 2010) to know that they can play senior football when their time is called."

Malthouse says he couldn't care less who the favourites are on Friday night.

His focus is on the players, whose confidence has grown throughout a season which has already yielded a minor premiership.

"(Captain) Nick Maxwell and his group two years ago said `we want to win a premiership'," Malthouse said.

"Aiming high is no sin. Aiming low is an out.

"The group itself is of no doubt that they will give 100 per cent and they don't carry anything (emotional baggage) with them.

"This is 2010, not 2009. I hardly suspect that he (Maxwell) is going to be worried about burdens of past."

Collingwood and Geelong named unchanged teams. Magpies winger Sharrod Wellingham used the week off to recover from a foot injury while veteran defender Simon Prestigiacomo was overlooked.

Geelong listed two-time premiership defender Andrew Mackie as an emergency.

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