West Coast have taunted premiership rivals Collingwood to worry about the Eagles' alleged ducking tactics at their peril as the two teams battle for top spot on the ladder at the MCG today.
Magpies utility player Sharrod Wellingham reignited the focus on the ducking debate this week by challenging West Coast's repeated denials that they used the ploy to win free kicks.
Wellingham named the Selwood brothers, Adam and Scott, and Luke Shuey as Eagles who used the "tactic", while Ashton Hams has also been accused of ducking his head by some critics.
West Coast coach John Worsfold said it was the pace and momentum of some of his players which helped them draw high free kicks.
"I don't know how you'd do it. I don't know who the guinea pig would be to say, 'righto, put your head down, I'm going to come and smack it'," Worsfold said on afl.com.au.
Eagles assistant coach Justin Longmuir took that a step further yesterday, claiming Collingwood would be foolish to focus too heavily on tackling strategies for the clash.
"I think it's a great thing for us as a football club," Longmuir said.
"If the opposition team is worrying about how they tackle us, well that's a head start as far as I'm concerned. There are more important things to be worrying about than the way they tackle us and then the frustration they show when they tackle us high."
Collingwood defender Chris Tarrant trained away from the team's main group yesterday, opting for a running session with injured pair Scott Pendlebury and Alan Didak.
Magpies football director Geoff Walsh said last night Tarrant had been suffering from soreness but was expected to play.
West Coast captain Darren Glass, Matt Rosa and Beau Waters left a training session early at the Junction Oval in St Kilda, but aren't believed to be in any doubt.
Longmuir, who played 139 games for Fremantle before his retirement in 2007, said moving to West Coast had shown him just how big the club was compared to the Dockers.
"Without putting Fremantle down, it's just a bigger club - more supporters, more of everything and the resources are better," he said.
"But Freo is catching up and I expect the two clubs to be on even footing when Freo have a little bit of success, and sustained success."
Collingwood defender Nathan Brown, who will play against his twin brother Mitch, said today's match was the start of a testing run for the club with tough games to follow against Fremantle, Carlton, Geelong and Hawthorn.
"It's just going to set us up for the season and put us under a real good test to see where we are," Brown said.
Meanwhile, Worsfold has not ruled out classy forward Mark LeCras from making a shock return before the end of the season from what appeared to be a year- ending knee injury.
"He wants to know is it ruled out or not," Worsfold said on afl. com.au.
"We know players have come back inside four months even and played and at a lot higher risk than waiting the 12 months.
"We won't make any decisions on whether the risk is worth it or not until much later in the season."
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