'Pies aim to build on their edge over Cats - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

'Pies aim to build on their edge over Cats

Roger Vaughan 10/05/2011 02:42:24 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood will aim to build on the new edge they have over their biggest AFL premiership rivals when they clash with Geelong on Friday.

Magpies defender Harry O'Brien said there would not be too much time spent analysing their two wins over the Cats late last season, given Geelong clearly have changed their game style.

But the 22-point win in round 19 and the 41-point thrashing of Geelong in the preliminary final changed the dynamic between these two modern powerhouses.

In particular, the clear-cut preliminary final win led to a widespread belief the Cats' golden era was over.

Instead, Geelong have joined Collingwood as the only unbeaten teams after seven rounds and Friday night's blockbuster will be the match of the season so far.

"You can take out some confidence, they had the measure over us for probably four or five years," O'Brien said on Tuesday.

"Last year, for us to be able to beat them was quite a big thing for us.

"You do take a lot out of that, but we haven't analysed last year's games because we know they've tweaked a few things.

"But you can go into a game with confidence, knowing you can beat that team."

Before those two wins last year, Geelong had beaten Collingwood in five of their previous six matches.

The only Collingwood win in that period was their stunning 86-point demolition of Geelong in round nine, 2008, when the Cats were reigning premiers and had won their opening eight games.

Now, the `Pies are the team to beat.

Asked if this was their biggest test so far in their premiership defence, O'Brien replied: "Well, we're both on top of the ladder - absolutely."

One potential issue for Collingwood is they are coming off the bye, a problem for several teams this season.

"We can't go by what other teams have done and I know teams haven't won games after the break," O'Brien said.

"But if I take myself back (to) last year, we started to gain our momentum after the mid-season break.

"I know it's a bit earlier, but we'll soon find out."

Captain Nick Maxwell, midfielder Ben Johnson and defender Chris Tarrant are all coming off injuries, but O'Brien said the only definite exclusion he knew of would be ruckman Darren Jolly.

"He's our No.1 ruckman, but we think Cameron Wood is an adequate ruckman," O'Brien said of Jolly's absence with a recurring knee injury.

"He'll be trying his hardest with this opportunity he has to take the next step in his football development and add something to his team."

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