'Pies contract news delights Neeld - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

'Pies contract news delights Neeld

Roger Vaughan 21/05/2011 12:58:38 PM Comments (0)

Scott Pendlebury's new contract and Dale Thomas' intention to also sign on are doubly-good developments for Collingwood assistant coach Mark Neeld.

Following Dane Swan's new deal earlier this year, it means the Magpies will soon have kept their three top midfielders away from AFL expansion team Greater Western Sydney.

It's especially pleasing for Neeld, Collingwood's midfield coach.

"They're quality players, quality people - they're all leaders at the club, at different levels and different stages of their careers," Neeld said.

"Also from a footy coach, you want to minimise any distractions ... at times, you can't help that, but you want just want to minimise them."

The Magpies are now focussing their attention on Sunday's Etihad Stadium clash against Adelaide, a game which recent history indicates will be tight.

Collingwood have won their last three games against the Crows, but the margins were three, five and 21 points.

In the last 10 games between these two teams, the highest margin has been 34.

"In days gone by, the catchcry used to be that the teams matched up well against each other, which often used to refer to individual players and battles they may have," Neeld said.

"As footy has moved on, I think nowadays that term sort of indicates that we match up pretty well tactically.

"Between the coaching group led by Mick (Malthouse) and Neil Craig's coaching group, it's quite a tactical battle.

"I presume it will be something similar on Sunday."

Collingwood lost to Geelong by three points in an outstanding game last week, breaking a winning run that stretched back to round 22 last season.

Adelaide easily beat Gold Coast last weekend, but a week before Melbourne thrashed the Crows by nearly 100 points.

Neeld said he was much more interested in Adelaide's round-five loss to Carlton by one goal.

"One thing as coaches you try not to do is use what you'd call an 'outlying' result," he said.

"Yes, they were beaten comprehensively (by Melbourne), but that doesn't usually happen to the Crows.

"The game I've taken particular interest in is the night they played Carlton at Etihad - the same venue where we'll be playing.

"They were probably stiff not to win that match."

While their winning streak is over, the reigning premiers remain the team to beat and Neeld said there were areas where Collingwood can improve.

"We're certainly going okay within that top six, we can compete with them," he said.

"That's really where we want to be at this stage.

"It's not doom and gloom from that loss."

Collingwood will regain captain Nick Maxwell and Dayne Beams, while the Crows are unchanged.

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