Magpies' Davis still in mix for replay - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies' Davis still in mix for replay

By Sam Lienert 27/09/2010 06:52:43 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood are yet to decide whether goalsneak Leon Davis' latest AFL grand final flop will cost him his spot for Saturday's replay.

Magpies forward coach Nathan Buckley acknowledged the 29-year-old's minimal influence for much of Saturday's draw with St Kilda, but said a brilliant last-quarter goal showed his capability.

"Leon was quiet. I thought his work with his defensive chasing and tackling was fair," the Magpies assistant said.

"He nearly won us the game with the goal that he kicked in the last quarter and that's what you hope for from your small forwards - to do that consistent work throughout the match, then to take the chances when they come.

"I thought his contribution ultimately could have been the difference and that's why you want to select blokes, because they're going to help you win the game."

Davis also had little or no influence in his two previous grand finals, in 2002 and 2003.

Asked whether he was under selection pressure, Buckley said those issues would be dealt with later in the week.

In his favour, two potential replacements in attack - Paul Medhurst and Tarkyn Lockyer - have not played an AFL game since round 20.

Compounding that issue, Collingwood's VFL team were knocked out on the opening finals weekend, giving players outside the AFL team little opportunity to press claims.

"But in the end, if you feel a player is going to make a difference ... you don't worry about where he's been playing or what intensity he's been training at," Buckley said.

Another big selection issue is whether to reinstate veteran defender Simon Prestigiacomo, out injured since round 20.

Defensive coach Scott Watters said Prestigiacomo should be physically ready to play, but the strong form of young key defenders Ben Reid and Nathan Brown created a difficult decision.

Collingwood also want more from some of their stars, notably midfielders Dane Swan and Scott Pendlebury and defender Harry O'Brien, all All-Australians this season.

Watters said Collingwood were defensively sound on Saturday, but their backmen failed to provide enough run, an area O'Brien was normally the key.

"Harry is a real barometer for us just from a running capacity and generates so much drive," Watters said.

"There's an opportunity for him this week, I think, to lift that to another level."

Midfield coach Mark Neeld expected greater output from Swan and Pendlebury.

"(Swan) was down in terms of possession rate, Farren Ray did an outstanding job on Dane in the second half, so we'll look at that," Neeld said.

"Pendles was a little bit down, so those two we hope would have better games this weekend, for sure."

Neeld said the Collingwood midfield also needed to greatly improve their kicking into attack.

"Obviously we'll look at that, the group of mids, if our boys are leading it's a really good idea to kick it to them, not to (Saints defender) Sam Fisher."

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