Pies wary ahead of grand final rematch - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Pies wary ahead of grand final rematch

By Guy Hand 03/06/2011 02:59:34 PM Comments (0)

Knowing first-hand the benefits of injecting a side with youth, Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse is as wary of St Kilda this weekend as in the two epic AFL grand finals last year.

A fortnight ago, Saturday night's grand final rematch at the MCG looked like being a Collingwood black-and-whitewash as the Saints struggled to be competitive.

But with new blood added, the Saints have won their past two matches.

While St Kilda still look a way off the side which made the 2009 and 2010 grand finals and pushed Collingwood to a replay last year, they are far from the walking dead they looked earlier this season.

Pleased with youngsters Jack Steven, Arryn Siposs and injured Tom Lynch to date, the Saints will blood two more debutants against the Magpies - Tom Ledger and Tom Simpkin.

And Malthouse, who rejuvenated his side mid-2010 and won a flag, believes the Saints have re-tooled enough to be a threat to his second-placed side.

"Confidence is a marvellous thing and when ... you have one of the great players in their club's history, Lenny Hayes, go down, I think it can psychologically have an effect," Malthouse said.

"There's no secret what we've tried to do and what other clubs have done in the past. When you introduce kids and they're enthusiastic, it changes the dynamics of your club rooms.

"It appears to me, with the games I've watched them play now the last month, there's a real buzz about the way they play."

The Magpies have few worries, coming off a thumping win over West Coast and a six-day turnaround which has nullified any in-club hype about the grand final rematch.

Ruck-forward Leigh Brown returns from a calf injury, replacing axed small forward Jarryd Blair.

Malthouse said his side's 8-1 start to their flag defence proved his players were rising to the challenge of maintaining the premiership hunger.

"It (hunger) becomes a goal," Malthouse said.

"There's a demon in the back of our mind that we've got to overcome every week.

"Some players will succumb to it and other players have got to hold up - it's almost like our senior players are practising trying to make sure we don't drop that intensity.

"Will we overcome it? Time will tell, but we're aware of it, and I think that's the most important thing."

The match marks combative St Kilda tagger Steven Baker's 200th AFL game.

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