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Magpie injury crisis deepens

Date

Martin Blake

Thomas and Shaw the latest to be cut down by injury and Pies are now without almost half their grand final team.

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Kangaroos have plenty of bounce

From the grounds of North Melbourne, Rohan Connolly lays down his tips for the upcoming fourth round of AFL.

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A PHLEGMATIC Collingwood is dealing with its worst injury blight in years as another two star players went down yesterday.

The casualty list reached the proportions of a MASH unit when All-Australian Dale Thomas and Heath Shaw reported hamstring strains that will keep them from playing this weekend against Port Adelaide and against Essendon on Anzac Day. The Magpies will go into this weekend's game against Port Adelaide with only 13 of their grand final 22 from just six months ago; seven of those missing are injured, plus the retirements of Leon Davis and Leigh Brown.

Nathan Buckley waited all that time for a head coaching job and has walked into a maelstrom. But he resisted the temptation to rush either Alan Didak or Nathan Brown back into the senior team despite their resumption from injuries in the VFL last weekend.

Dale Thomas.

Dale Thomas.

Brown, who is coming off a knee reconstruction, is an emergency and may be in line for selection on Anzac Day if he gets some game time in the reserves this weekend. Director of football Geoff Walsh said both Brown and Didak would play in the VFL, but that the club wanted to see them play more football before elevation.

''As impressive as his [Brown's] two games have been, you've got to give the boy a chance of returning to senior footy as comfortably as possible. We're in a position where we can't let the circumstances interrupt the plan. If we let the circumstances dictate what we do, we can end up with egg on our face,'' he said.

At 1-2 and 13th on the ladder, with two games to confront in five days, Collingwood is at its most vulnerable. Walsh described the injuries to Shaw and Thomas as ''relatively minor'', the former breaking down at training on Wednesday, and the latter reporting soreness after last weekend's game.

Round 4 teams Click for more photos

AFL Round 4 teams

AFL Round 4 team selections. 

But with Luke Ball (knee) and Ben Reid (quadriceps) going down in the loss to Carlton last weekend, the timing could not have been worse.

''How do we deal with it? Internally we look at it as being unfortunate, but there's no point us sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves,'' said Walsh. ''AFL footy is a roller coaster and one week it might be Collingwood, then it might be Fremantle or it might be St Kilda. It's just part and parcel of the game. It happens. We don't like it happening, but we just have to deal with it.

''It's a cliche but it's true that players who might be 26th or 27th-ranked might come up to 16th and 17th. They're going to get opportunities.''

Heath Shaw.

Heath Shaw.

The Magpies last night dropped ruckman Cameron Wood in addition to the four compulsory replacements in the wake of the 10-goal loss to Carlton. Veteran Ben Johnson is back for his first game of the season, Simon Buckley gets another chance, while young players Paul Seedsman, Jackson Paine and Tom Young are in.

Paine, 18, and 191 centimetres, has played two of the Pies' three games before being dropped last weekend. He will be required to fill the gap created by the absence of Reid and Chris Tarrant (calf), while Wood's dumping means Chris Dawes will be the back-up ruckman.

Johnson, 31, has had three runs in the VFL after recovering from a pre-season hamstring injury. Buckley managed 13 senior games last year. Midfielder Young played two senior games last year and was impressive in the pre-season but he has not played senior football this year.

27 comments so far

  • Have a sook Collingwood - what happened to all this depth you guys bang on about.

    Commenter
    Chachi
    Date and time
    April 20, 2012, 8:14AM
    • I don't hear anyone from Collingwood having a "sook"

      Commenter
      Tom
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      April 20, 2012, 8:32AM
    • No sooking in this article, but maybe I can read english.

      Commenter
      Renstar
      Location
      Newport
      Date and time
      April 20, 2012, 9:30AM
    • your kidding arent you - have you been listening to Eddie lately?

      Commenter
      chachi
      Date and time
      April 20, 2012, 1:12PM
  • only the 'experts' talked about Collingwood's depth, it was obvious in 2011 the depth was not there and they were playing unfit players.

    Commenter
    Tony
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    April 20, 2012, 8:58AM
    • I thought we had a few injuries, but this is extremely tough. Hard trying to work through this, the temptation is enormous to bring them back too early. Collingwood will 'find' a good youngster out of all this.

      Commenter
      bomber
      Location
      Ballarat
      Date and time
      April 20, 2012, 9:00AM
      • Easy to conjecture the early demise of a consistently good team over the last few season on the back of a couple of losses, injuries and a new coach. The smart money would be on a return to form in a few rounds and a better than fair chance at making the finals - certainly top 8, maybe not top 4 under the current circumstances. Besides, it counds like there are a few youing fellas waiting in the wings, who if given a chance, may turn their 'keen as mustard' mentality into somwe match winning form. Look at Hawthorn: the likes of Smith, Darling, Shuey et al have snuck in and made a competitive spot for themselves. Be wary you nay sayers - 'March/April Champions' aren't always final contenders.

        Commenter
        Hardfelt
        Location
        Melburn
        Date and time
        April 20, 2012, 9:09AM
        • Top 8 I reckon. They have been up a long time. That's what makes Geelong and Lion's effort so amazing; to be on song for so many years. Bombers did it from '99 to '01 and same as the pies came away with one flag.

          Commenter
          Kel
          Location
          Barooga
          Date and time
          April 20, 2012, 4:46PM
      • I'm hoping they uncover a 'hidden gem' with all these blokes getting a chance where they may not have previously.

        Commenter
        BreakfastYummy
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        April 20, 2012, 9:24AM
        • Yeh - a hidden gem....maybe like Sinclair! He looks the goods... Good luck with that. Maybe a potato gem...? Chicken McNugget...?

          Commenter
          debagger
          Date and time
          April 20, 2012, 11:12AM

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