Shaw ready to go for Collingwood: Ball - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Shaw ready to go for Collingwood: Ball

Greg Buckle 22/08/2011 06:43:55 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood midfielder Luke Ball says star defender Heath Shaw's eight-week suspension could be a blessing in disguise.

Ball says Shaw, who has two more matches to serve to complete his ban for a betting violation, is fighting fit following a two-week training camp in Arizona.

"I've heard he's a few kilos lighter and he's got a bit of a tan and he's raring to go," Ball said on Monday.

"That's good, it's exciting.

"Most clubs at this time of year have got a few guys who have been injured or who are coming back from injury.

"In Heath's case, it's on the contrary really.

He'll come back as fresh as anyone. It will almost be a blessing for him.

"But there are a few other guys who are coming back from injury and it's up to them to try to force their way back into the team.

"A few of the younger guys who have come in have really done pretty well and taken their chance.

"So it's probably a reasonable problem to have."

Shaw is set to return to the Collingwood side for the start of the finals series on the weekend of September 9 to 11.

Skipper Nick Maxwell's fractured thumb remains a major worry for the Magpies who face a tough decision on whether to gamble on the half-back's lack of match fitness as he tries to carry the injury into next month's finals campaign.

The Magpies extended their winning streak to 13 with an 18-point victory over Brisbane on Saturday night, but only after the Lions finished strongly with a seven-goal final term.

Leon Davis (soreness) and Andrew Krakouer (quad) are expected to return for Friday night's game in Perth against Fremantle, while doubt remains over forward Chris Dawes (hand).

Ball confirmed defender Ben Reid, who was subbed off at three-quarter time against Brisbane after falling heavily in a marking contest, would be fit to play.

The Magpies had a robust team meeting on Monday morning to discuss their "flat" finish against the Lions, Ball revealed.

"It would be pretty easy for us to say, given our spot on the ladder and the fact that we know that we are going to play finals, to use that as an excuse for our performance," Ball said.

The premiership onballer joined his teammates at Crown on Monday for a screening of the movie "Horrible Bosses".

"I think it was probably Mick's (coach Mick Malthouse's) idea just to give us a bit of perspective on how every now and then he might get a bit grumpy but, compared to some of these guys, he's not that bad," Ball joked.

The former St Kilda midfielder is hoping a day at the movies doesn't have the same impact as it did for the Saints in 2004.

St Kilda's 10-match winning streak ended in their next game.

"That sort of led us astray a little bit, that movie," Ball said.

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