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Magpies set to change it up

Guy Hand 09/04/2011 01:12:54 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse has forecast tinkering with his side over the next few weeks to help freshen the AFL premiers for what lies beyond.

The Magpies ground down Carlton for a 28-point win at the MCG on Friday night.

But despite being unbeaten in their opening three matches, Malthouse saw signs of jaded players feeling the pinch.

And that's all part of the plan for what he called "an April peak" for some of his players over the slightly extended season.

"The bye in round seven, we've scheduled it in to have certain players ... play good football in April, and they've done it pretty hard through February and March," Malthouse said.

"This is a time when you start to re-analyse players that are starting to tire a little bit and start to throw the side around so that other players can take a bit of the pressure off those players.

"There's a lot to be said for holding players back because of injuries."

Veteran Leon Davis was nursed back into action from illness as a substitute on Friday night, and is one player who can expect more game time as Malthouse juggles his playing stocks.

Small forward Andrew Krakouer is likely to be given time in the midfield - perhaps as soon as the clash with his old club Richmond next Friday night.

"He'll get better as he gets used to AFL football again," Malthouse said of Krakouer.

"When he gets the miles in the legs and a few games under the belt he'll work through the midfield, because he's got that touch in there as well."

While the Pies perhaps lacked the ruthlessness of their shellackings of Port Adelaide and North Melbourne against the Blues, Carlton did offer up a solid challenge.

Despite midfield stars Dane Swan and Scott Pendlebury having limited impact, other Collingwood weapons fired up to compensate.

Small forward Jarryd Blair booted five goals, Heath Shaw provided plenty of run from defence and midfielders Luke Ball and Steele Sidebottom were excellent.

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