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Pies poised for AFL success

Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury is confident the Magpies will kick on from last year's dramatic resurgence.

Pies poised for AFL success

Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury is confident the Magpies will kick on from last year's dramatic resurgence.

SCOTT PENDLEBURY of the Magpies runs with the ball during the AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Greater Western Sydney Giants at MCG in Melbourne, Australia.
SCOTT PENDLEBURY of the Magpies runs with the ball during the AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Greater Western Sydney Giants at MCG in Melbourne, Australia. Picture:Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Captain Scott Pendlebury calls Collingwood's stirring AFL resurgence the tip of the iceberg.

Last year, the Magpies started the season with two straight losses to further fuel the predictions of doom.


They had missed the finals for the previous four seasons and coach Nathan Buckley remained under massive pressure after a club review.

But the Magpies defied a bad run of injuries to return to the top-eight and lose an epic grand final to West Coast by five points.

"We were starting to play our best football in the finals ... we're tip of the iceberg in terms of how good our football can be," Pendlebury said.

"I feel like 2019 will be a continuation for us of how we finished last year.

"We didn't get the ultimate, (but) I feel like we're building a brand and culture and I'm looking forward to doing more of the same in 2019."

Pendlebury added the hard times of the last few years, including their injury woes during 2018, would now stand them in good stead.

"Injuries, hardships, all those things are all part of the journey and there were times when we literally had 24 guys to pick from," he said.

"The ability of everyone to stay focused on the role, for guys to come in and play well and a "next guy up' mentality - it built some good resilience, good depth.

"But we know that 2019, it's a clean slate and we start again."

Dayne Beams is an important return for their midfield mix and Pendlebury does not envy the selection headaches ahead of their round-one clash next Friday against Geelong at the MCG.

"Taylor Adams going out helps the situation a little bit with his finger, but he'll be back in no time ... that (the midfield) is a fun one for the coaches," he said.

Pendlebury acknowledged that the mood at Collingwood is a lot different than a year ago.

"We have a lot more confidence in what we're doing," he said.

"Last year, it had been the fourth year in a row we hadn't made finals and you're trying to find that belief in the way you play.

"You're trying to find that confidence, you're trying to find roles that suit guys.

"We have that - we know how we want to play, it stands up, it stacks up."

And Pendlebury is rapt that rather than talk of his coach walking the plank, this year Buckley starts the season with a contract extension.

"The cloud hanging over his head, the playing group's head, has been removed," he said.

"Last year we started 0-2 and the cloud was pretty big then.

"We're happy for Bucks, the players love playing for him and everyone really respects Nathan."

AAP


AAP




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