Magpies vow to stop Hawthorn's Franklin - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies vow to stop Hawthorn's Franklin

By Robert Grant 29/06/2011 03:44:24 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell reckons Lance Franklin is the best player in the AFL so it's hardly surprising the Magpies will target the Hawthorn spearhead in Sunday's heavyweight clash at the MCG.

The big spearhead returns for the Hawks after serving a one-week suspension.

Maxwell describes Franklin as "a freak".

"In my eyes he's the most valuable player going around," the Magpies skipper said on Wednesday.

"He's so hard to stop in the air, on the ground, on a lead.

"But we've got a couple of key backs who are in excellent form themselves in Tazza (Chris Tarrant) and Ben Reid and I'm sure that at different times those two guys will be on him."

Maxwell said starving Franklin of the ball was crucial if Collingwood was to win and hoped he would play further from goal.

"I think Buddy up the ground is easier to manage because he's not kicking goals from 60 (metres) or snapping them around the corner.

"I haven't seen a player who can kick goals facing sideways to the goal from 50 or 60 metres like he can.

"You get a spoil and it comes to ground but he follows it up better than anyone as well.

"The further we can push him up the ground the less damage he can do on the scoreboard so that would be a start," he said.

While they have regained Franklin, the third-ranked Hawks have lost midfielder Jordan Lewis for two games for a headbutt on Essendon forward Angus Monfries.

Second-placed Collingwood have their own worries with brilliant forward Alan Didak sidelined for two weeks with a calf strain.

Didak's latest injury follows a pectoral muscle issue he played with late last season.

"It's just a slight strain and potentially (he will miss) one week, that's what we're hoping for," Maxwell said.

"He hasn't had a lot of soft tissue injuries so we weren't sure exactly what it was all about.

"But when you get a little bit older, like him and like myself at 28, you start to take it more cautiously."

Didak's form has been down this year compared to his stellar 2010 but Maxwell said the forward was under pressure due to his reputation.

"Because he's Alan Didak and he's so good we put such high expectations on him," Maxwell explained.

"To come back from that injury that he had where he played through the whole finals series with that torn pec, it obviously took a fair bit to get him right.

"He missed a lot of pre-season and his strength in the past has been because he's been super-fit.

"But we've got no fear of him coming back in and not playing his best - we know that's just around the corner," he said.

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