Maxwell set to go: Pies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Maxwell set to go: Pies

Robert Grant 06/04/2011 01:39:03 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell will make his belated entry into the Magpies' premiership defence in the blockbuster AFL clash with Carlton at the MCG on Friday night.

Maxwell has been on the sidelines since suffering a heavy bump and kidney damage in the NAB Cup semi-final against West Coast last month.

But after training strongly for the last two weeks, the skipper has been given the green light to return.

"He got bumped up in the ribs but that's not unusual," coach Mick Malthouse said on Wednesday.

"There are a lot of players on a week-to-week basis that would be getting a decent bump that would have microscopic particles of blood through their urine.

"Nick had a little bit more than that but he's totally over that and has been for over 14 days.

"All he needs to do is get through training and he'll be right but I'm pretty confident and comfortable that he's ready to play.

"The medical staff are very sure that he's available."

Malthouse said the Magpies took the cautious approach with Maxwell by overlooking him for last weekend's big win over North Melbourne.

But he said it was vital to get players into the senior side as soon as possible.

"It's round three and if you don't play players now you end up extending it even further," said Malthouse.

"Nick's not a massive possession-getting player so it's not as if he's going to lack touch.

"He has trained now for well over two weeks. You do pick up your touch on the training track but of course you get a lot more through match practice but we've got to get him into the side.

"It's like anyone else at this time of the year - the more they can play and be exposed (the better)."

Collingwood and Carlton hold the top two positions on the ladder after two rounds with percentages over 200, but Malthouse said it was too early to judge how any team will perform long-term.

"I don't think anyone's over the rusty part of the year," said Malthouse.

"Certain clubs, for instance, have started (pre-season) in October. We started in November.

"Our NAB Cup series was pretty hard so we've probably made up a little bit of ground.

"How hard were the first couple of rounds? Some (clubs) have been treated to very hot conditions, others night times, some six-day gaps, others eight-day gaps.

"All those things considered, going into round three you would expect that players are still feeling their way in many respects."

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