Magpies back in good shape for AFL defence - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies back in good shape for AFL defence

Melissa Woods 10/01/2011 02:10:17 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood skipper Nick Maxwell says he hasn't watched a replay of his side's AFL grand final triumph over St Kilda, preferring to focus on the future.

The Magpies returned to training on Monday in Melbourne after their Christmas break.

Following their stunning 2010 season which culminated in the club's first flag since 1990, Maxwell said prospects were good for their title defence.

"We've had a good break but we're looking forward to getting back into it," he said.

"We've got a pretty similar group to what we had last year so we're excited about our prospects."

The captain said he hadn't taken the time during the break to watch the Magpies' 56-point thrashing of the Saints in the second AFL grand final, which followed the drawn first match.

"I haven't actually," said Maxwell. "What's done is done, I'd rather look forward."

The bulk of the players completed a two kilometre time-trial in light rain around Olympic Park, with defender Harry O'Brien surprisingly first across the line followed by Steele Sidebottom, Dale Thomas, Scott Pendlebury, Brad Dick and Dayne Beams.

Chris Tarrant and Nathan Brown, who missed Collingwood's high altitude camp in Arizona because of shoulder surgery, also ran well and were among the top 10.

Maxwell was among those who didn't run and instead completed a cycling session behind closed doors.

"I'm just going to say the same as every club and say that everyone's flying," he said.

"Every club and every player seems to have had their best pre-season ever and everyone's ahead of where they were the year before, so I think we'll just wait till the games start and let our footy do the talking."

He said the fitness of players showed complacency wouldn't be an issue as they aimed toward back-to-back flags.

"We haven't needed to (talk about it), just the way guys have come back and the way they've prepared themselves and how hard they've worked, that's told us enough.

Players who'd missed out on the grand final matches and new arrivals were ensuring there was plenty of pressure on those who played

"There's also a lot of guys who missed out and with guys like Tas (Chris Tarrant) and Kraks (Andrew Krakouer) coming in, and they're the guys who've led the way during the pre-season," said Maxwell.

He was confident Collingwood could defend the title but said they would need to lift the bar in order to repeat last season's heroics.

"You've always got to change, you've always got to keep improving," Maxwell said.

"I think if you stand still, other teams go past you.

"There will be subtle changes to our game plan and things that we do differently but I think that will work itself out as we go through."

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