Darren Jolly ready for AFL challenge: Shaw - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Darren Jolly ready for AFL challenge: Shaw

By Guy Hand 24/04/2011 02:06:19 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood are confident they'll not only see Essendon's high stakes gamble for the AFL Anzac Day clash but they can raise it with the return of Darren Jolly.

With the Bombers going for height and playing three ruckmen in the most prestigious home-and-away match of the season, Jolly's inclusion for Collingwood looms as crucial.

The 29-year-old has overcome a knee injury which sidelined him last week.

Along with pinch-hitting Magpies ruck-forward Leigh Brown, Jolly must contend with David Hille, Paddy Ryder and Tom Bellchambers in a three-pronged Essendon ruck attack for the MCG clash.

Collingwood defender Heath Shaw said Jolly was ready to go and was up to the challenge of battling the Bombers' height.

"He had last week off because his knee was a little bit sore but he's ready to go," Shaw said on Sunday.

"It's going to be a big challenge for him. He's going to have three guys to come up against, all different types of ruckmen.

"I think Jolls is up to the challenge."

Essendon's gamble with three talls is risky against the premiers.

But No.1 ruckman Hille's return from injury coupled with excellent form from Ryder and Bellchambers has almost forced coach James Hird's hand.

Hird is confident the trio can work together.

The Magpies expect one or more of them to rotate through midfield as well as spend time forward.

But it won't change Collingwood's approach as they attempt to remain unbeaten this season.

"We're going to stick with our structure and we're going to have to learn to deal with it, whether they play forward or through the midfield which they will at times," Shaw said.

Collingwood played Essendon last month in the pre-season cup final - the Bombers pressing the Magpies but eventually losing by 22 points.

Under Hird's more defensively minded coaching, the Bombers loom as a far different test for the Magpies than in an uncompetitive performance last Anzac Day to lose by 65 points.

"No matter what, the first five or 10 minutes is going to be massive," Shaw said.

"The heat's going to be on. It's going to be pretty ferocious and who can settle the quickest has a good chance of winning."

Collingwood have included livewire small forward Brad Dick at the expense of Andrew Krakouer.

A crowd of more than 90,000 is expected for the match.

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