Magpies count on midfield depth
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley is counting on the depth of his injury-hit midfield to match it with the Adelaide onballers who have transformed the Crows into the form team of the AFL.
With Brownlow medallist Dane Swan joining Luke Ball on the injury list for at least a couple of weeks, the Magpies go into Saturday's match in Adelaide without two of their midfield guns against a side boasting form player Patrick Dangerfield and his offsiders, Nathan van Berlo and Scott Thompson.
But Buckley believes the improvement in Steele Sidebottom and Dayne Beams can cover their loss and support Scott Pendlebury and Dale Thomas.
"We won't have a couple of what you might have classed as A-grade players at the beginning of the season, but we believe Steele Sidebottom and Dayne Beams have stepped up, Sharrod Wellingham is playing an important role for us - Jarryd Blair," Buckley said on Tuesday.
"They've got a depth of talent there as well. It's going to be two bulls butting heads and it's going to be a tight contest."
Brenton Sanderson has brought a hard edge to Adelaide in his first year as coach, leading them to seven wins from the first eight rounds, including successive victories over Sydney, Geelong and Carlton which have removed any doubts about their 2012 credentials.
"They're the form team in the competition, clearly," Buckley said.
"If you're winning contested ball, using the ball as efficiently as they are and you're defending well when the opposition has it, you're hard to beat and you're going to win a lot of games.
"They play a quality brand of football. They're pretty hard to beat - they've been super impressive."
With key defender Ben Reid re-injuring his quadricep in the win against Geelong last week and Chris Tarrant still a couple of weeks away from a return, Buckley said he'll consider bringing in another tall to help second-year player Lachlan Keefe handle Adelaide's potent forwards.