Fledgling Magpies ready to fly higher - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fledgling Magpies ready to fly higher

By Sam Lienert 26/09/2010 03:55:10 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood believe the big advantage St Kilda held entering the AFL grand final has been nullified ahead of Saturday's replay.

The Magpies went into Saturday's drawn clash with 17 players involved in a grand final for the first time, and captain Nick Maxwell believes that inexperience showed.

Collingwood won enough of the ball to dominate the contest, but let themselves down with inaccurate kicks into attack, sprayed shots at goal and costly fumbles.

Maxwell, among the grand final debutants, said there was little doubt familiarity with the occasion was a factor which helped the Saints, most of whom had experienced last year's loss to Geelong.

"I think it probably has to be, a lot of guys just didn't know what to expect," he said.

"We've got a very young team, people have spoken about eight guys under 50 games or whatever it is.

"... It is a different occasion, different game, and now they just know what to expect.

"Everything changes, the routine changes before the game, so I think our guys will be right and better for it."

The Collingwood skipper himself stood up well to the pressure, his performance including a desperate run and dive to prevent a Nick Riewoldt snap rolling through for what would have been a crucial last-term goal.

Along with newfound grand final experience, Maxwell said the other bonuses for the Magpies were the absence of any fresh injuries and enormous room for improvement.

He said many team members experienced form dips, so would welcome the second chance.

"Some people when they play poorly in a grand final, they don't play to the best of their ability, they may not ever get another chance," he said.

"If they do get a chance it might be years down the track. Our guys can make amends one week later, so I think guys will really take that on and individually they'll want to play a lot better."

Maxwell said the advantage of a young side was players tended to make a quick physical recovery after matches, with rebounding mentally likely to be the bigger challenge.

But despite expecting the 22 who played on Saturday to be available for the replay, he forecast changes.

Veteran defender Simon Prestigiacomo is strongly in contention, with the Magpies hopeful he will overcome groin soreness which made him a late withdrawal from the initial contest.

"I doubt that both teams will go in with the same 22," Maxwell said.

"It's going to be disappointing for some people and you do feel for them, but it's no different to the guys that we felt for who didn't get to represent us yesterday."

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