Magpies seek AFL finals dress rehearsal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies seek AFL finals dress rehearsal

By Sam Lienert 25/08/2011 06:18:08 PM Comments (0)

A badly-depleted and out-of-form opponent and almost nothing on the line will not stop Collingwood treating Friday night's AFL clash with Fremantle like a final.

The Dockers have lost their past five games, most recently a 98-point thumping by North Melbourne.

Their chances of an upset were hampered by seven forced changes, including the loss of Matthew Pavlich, David Mundy, Antoni Grover and Adam McPhee, meaning they will field a shadow of their best side.

But Collingwood defender Ben Reid said after a flat performance against Brisbane last round, it was vital the Magpies returned to the type of intensity that would deliver finals victories.

"We want to start playing our best footy now leading into finals," Reid told reporters on Thursday.

"And as a few of the boys have said, (we need) dress rehearsals coming into finals.

"We want to play four quarters of solid footy and have some confidence going in."

While the Dockers were stripped of talent, the Magpies were significantly boosted.

Key forward Chris Dawes, Andrew Krakouer, Leon Davis and Ben Johnson will all return from injury, although Luke Ball (soreness) will miss out.

Reid, who will play his 50th AFL game, shrugged aside any doubts about his own physical condition, despite being subbed out of the Lions clash with a back injury.

The backman was crouched over in pain and coughing up blood, after landing awkwardly in a marking contest, causing initial fears he might have suffered some serious damage.

But Reid, one of just five Magpies to have played every game so far this season, said he had recovered well and been given the medical all-clear.

"I'm right to go, I pulled up very well after the game, I had a few scans during the week, nothing showed up, which was great and I'm ready to go tomorrow."

Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich said pitting an inexperienced line-up against the reigning premiers at least gave Dockers fringe players a chance to prove themselves.

Former Magpie Jack Anthony, who has played just two AFL games in his first season at Fremantle, was among the inclusions.

"There'll be guys who will be coming into the side that may not have played a huge amount with us this year, who will be desperate to show their wares against the best players in the competition," Pavlich said.

"We understand that it is the hardest game that we will probably play this year, but it does provide our players with a great opportunity."

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