Round 23 teams
Three years ago, Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury was part of a ladder-leading side that lost by 96 points to Geelong on the eve of finals – and he’s hoping Hawthorn may be similarly lacking in hunger on Friday night.
The Pies need to win, and Richmond loses to Sydney, to make the finals.
“I can’t speak for Hawthorn, but I know personally they are tough games to play because you’re projecting forward,” Pendlebury said on Thursday.
“The last thing anyone wants is to see a Hawthorn player go down tomorrow night. It is in your mind and you don’t want that to happen because you’ve worked hard all year to get into finals.
“They’re in a position now where I think they’re locked into second or third regardless of what happens.
“After that game [against Geelong], there wasn’t a real feeling of disappointment, it was like we’d just got one out the way.”
Hawthorn, though, doesn’t seem to be singing from the same songbook – and even Pendlebury admits Collingwood’s attitude against Geelong in 2011 was not ideal. “It probably wasn’t the right way to approach that game,” he said.
The Hawks have left out captain Luke Hodge with knee soreness for the clash, but otherwise have opted against resting anyone.
“All our guys are out here training and if they all pull up fine from the training session they’re going to play,” coach Alastair Clarkson said.
“Other clubs choose to do it in a different way, but the formula for us is usually if we keep our players together that’s usually a good preparation for our finals campaign.
“We’ve got a great opponent in Collingwood who are fierce competitors and have been great opponents of ours for a long period of time. They’re currently fighting for a position in the eight. Irrespective of the personnel they’ve got available … we know they’re going to come out fighting … which is fantastic for us because we want that sort of challenge leading into finals.
“The last two weeks we’ve had games against other finals aspirants in Fremantle and Geelong. We’ve performed OK in those games without doing it really well.”
Hawthorn defender Josh Gibson and forward Jack Gunston have been cleared of injury and have been named. As expected, Matt Suckling will miss the game with a knee injury but should be back for the Hawks’ first final.
Jonathon Ceglar has again been picked ahead of ruckman Ben McEvoy, who is an emergency.
Pendlebury has manfully skippered a side that has threatened to collapse at every turn this season. The injury-ravaged Magpies have called in ruck-forward Corey Gault, Paul Seedsman and Heritier Lumumba to replace injured trio Brent Macaffer, Clinton Young and Dane Swan.
“Corey’s a big forward with great hands, runs all day,” said Pendlebury, who reiterated that injuries were no excuse.
“You’re worried about the next opportunity and who can help you. As brutal as that sounds, the guys that fall off or you lose for the rest of the season, you’re more focused on getting the other guys up to speed as quick as you can and focusing on the challenge ahead.
“Once new guys get a taste of senior football they’re not going to want to hand their jumper back to someone coming back [into the side].”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.