Collingwood prime mover Scott Pendlebury is confident the Magpies can bounce back from the last-start loss to Hawthorn and avoid a straight-sets finals exit.
The Magpies will have to hurriedly regroup following their 38-point defeat at the hands of the flag favourites ahead of Saturday’s semi-final against West Coast at the MCG.
Pendlebury says the players are upbeat they can turn around the result of their most recent match against West Coast - a 49-point loss at Patersons Stadium in round 22.
“Finals makes a new ball game, there’s a lot more pressure on in finals footy,” Pendlebury said.
“Last week against Hawthorn we took great steps in the right direction.”
Pendlebury said the return of No.1 ruckman Darren Jolly, absent from the whipping by the Eagles, would be a major boost against the imposing tag team of Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui.
“It’s a massive in for us. Getting your No.1 ruckman always helps against probably the best ruck tandem in the league,” he said.
“We just want Jolls to compete and also us guys at ground level - we still got smashed in the contested footy and clearances - so we’ve got a bit of work to do and we’re looking forward to getting our hands dirty.”
Pendlebury said the defence would need to step up to cover the absence of suspended skipper Nick Maxwell - with more responsibility falling to the likes of Heath Shaw, Ben Reid and Harry O’Brien.
He also said the death in Las Vegas of Port Adelaide player and former Collingwood teammate John McCarthy had been dealt with by the group in a respectful manner.
“Any time the boys are together, like Monday when we came out and had a good training session, just being able to get together and talk about it - at times like this you never want to be by yourself and thinking about it.“When you are together you can all talk and comfort each other,“ said Pendlebury.
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