Pendlebury poised to face Power as Magpies reset

Anna Harrington |

Collingwood veteran Scott Pendlebury is set to play against the Power.
Collingwood veteran Scott Pendlebury is set to play against the Power.

Collingwood have received a handy boost ahead of their blockbuster clash with Port Adelaide, with veteran Scott Pendlebury cleared to face the Power.

The smooth-moving midfielder was substituted out of the Magpies’ round-four win over Hawthorn with fractured ribs and had been in doubt for Saturday’s match at the MCG.

But the 36-year-old appeared uninhibited at Thursday’s main training session and was later named as part of an unchanged line-up.

“Pendles got through training … he’s a marvel with his ability to recover and get ready to play,” Collingwood coach Craig McRae said.

An early-season bye last week gave Pendlebury extra recovery time, and Collingwood a chance to reset.

“We probably needed it more than we realised,” McRae said

“Really heavy start to the season with six-day breaks, travel.

“We did a good recap of the first five weeks and where we’re at – what we’re doing well, what we need to get busy with.

“It was a good chance to reset ourselves physically, but then also look at how we’re playing.”

Collingwood also dealt with Nathan Murphy’s enforced premature retirement this week through concussion.

“This is something that’s been sort of stewing in the background for a while, so this is not a sudden moment of shock,” McRae said.

“But any time one of your valued players and cultural guys decides to walk away from the game it’s difficult.

“We’d like to see him around the club for the next period.

Nathan Murphy
Retired premiership defender Nathan Murphy is a big loss for Collingwood. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

“We’re working through that at the moment, whether it’s coaching or in other parts of our club. It’d be sad to lose him.”

Collingwood are also pondering how to best replace the reliable key defender on the field, while deciding on their best forward mix without Dan McStay (ACL).

“We’ve had to do some different things and we’re not there, we’re not finished,” McRae said.

“There’s a lot of sleepless nights working out what the next move is, but we’ve got what we’ve got and we’ve got to keep working with what we have.”

The coach said big man Billy Frampton was “playing the best footy I’ve seen him play” as Murphy’s replacement.

The in-form Power (4-1), headlined by dynamic midfield trio Connor Rozee, Zak Butters and Jason Horne-Francis, should prove the ideal litmus test for the reigning premiers (2-3).

“We’ve had a great rivalry in recent times against Port, they’re a quality opposition and games tend to be tight and contests are strong,” McRae said.

“We’re looking forward to it.”

Port made just one change, managing veteran key forward Charlie Dixon after he kicked two goals in an absorbing battle with Fremantle skipper Alex Pearce last week.

Dixon’s absence has opened the door for former Western Bulldogs ruck Jordon Sweet to play his first game for the Power since he was traded last year.