Collingwood has X-factor: Malthouse - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Collingwood has X-factor: Malthouse

By Adam Cooper 20/09/2007 07:22:15 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse has urged his side to use flair to light up a packed MCG and believes it has the X-factor to overcome Geelong's fresher legs in Friday night's preliminary final.

Positive his young side won't be hampered by last week's gruelling, extra-time win over West Coast, Malthouse is confident the Magpies possess that magic ingredient found in many premiership sides.

Malthouse said the refusal to give in against West Coast was further evidence of Collingwood's belief, which will be tested by this season's benchmark side before a crowd of up to 95,000.

"It's an X-factor that sometimes you can't put your finger on, it's not tangible at times," he said.

"You'd like to be able to grab it and say there it is, but it's an intangible. Sometimes there's just something about the squad.

"I can't guarantee victory tomorrow night, nor can they. All they can guarantee is they're going to have a go. That's all we want.

"Go down there, run down the race, enjoy the game, enjoy each other's company out there, work hard together, forget the scoreboard because that's only relevant at the end of the game and see what takes place.

"Last week when we were 22 points down we could have looked at the scoreboard and said `That's it, enjoy the trip, go back'.

"That's not them. It's not their manner, which is fantastic.

"That may be the intangible, that they have a great belief in one another."

Collingwood completed a light training session before about 500 fans, and ruckman Josh Fraser got through well enough to earn a recall after missing the win over the Eagles through back soreness.

While Geelong start a warm favourite after an excellent season and a 106-point thrashing of the Kangaroos in the qualifying final, Collingwood can take heart from getting to within 16 points of the Cats in round 15.

Malthouse was disappointed his side did not test Geelong that day in July, and said they had been too "mechanical".

They had to play with adventure to reach the grand final.

"We didn't really play the game (last time), so the lesson is, against Geelong round 15, I reckon we almost ... played the blackboard," he said.

"We just didn't play with enough instinctive creativity that the players have got, knowing full well that Geelong have got stacks of it.

"If you don't take that on you don't take anything on."

Malthouse said his side's confidence was typified by Irishman Martin Clarke, who could cap a remarkable transition from Gaelic football to AFL by getting a big job on one of Geelong's star midfielders.

"I remember when I met him in January he was that keyed up about playing on Anzac Day I thought `It's OK to have a bit of confidence, but this bloke was coming from outside of Belfast," he said.

"He couldn't come to grips that he wasn't getting a game ... that's how much confidence this kid has in his own ability to play the game, he wanted the big stage."

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