Carlton, coach Voss embrace Collingwood rivalry

Oliver Caffrey |

Carlton midfielder Adam Cerra is a certain starter for the Blues’ clash with Collingwood.
Carlton midfielder Adam Cerra is a certain starter for the Blues’ clash with Collingwood.

Getting himself up for a clash with Collingwood has always been easy for Carlton coach Michael Voss.

The Blues (5-2) will meet their famous rivals in a MCG blockbuster in front of a potential crowd of more than 90,000 on Friday night.

After suffering significant heartache at the hands of the Magpies in recent times, Carlton turned the tables in stunning fashion in round 20 last year on their way to reaching a preliminary final.

Collingwood recovered from their late stumble in the home-and-away season to win a 16th VFL/AFL premiership – equalling the Blues and Essendon.

“Collingwood is very easy (to get up for), we’ve had more than a history – even in a previous lifetime at a different club (as a player and coach of the Brisbane Lions),” Voss said on Thursday.

“When you come to Carlton, that’s only reinforced.

“It’s history you get to tap back into, it’s all part of your story. It’s really important to understand where you’ve come from and why it’s important as a club.

“The only reason they become rivalries is because you have relevance, you’re playing big games against one another and important moments in seasons.”

The Blues’ firing midfield will receive another boost, with Adam Cerra to return from a hamstring injury.

After missing the past two games, Cerra was declared a certain starter by Voss, rejoining captain Patrick Cripps and fellow star Sam Walsh in the middle.

“He’s come up quite well,” Voss said of Cerra on Thursday.

“He could have been right on the edge last week. We were a bit more conservative, but he’s been able to train really well and he’s ready to go.”

It comes as Collingwood will be without premiership midfielders Jordan De Goey (groin) and Tom Mitchell (foot).

Tom Mitchell.
Tom Mitchell enjoys possession during a Magpies training session. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Mitchell was subbed out of the Magpies’ Anzac Day draw with Essendon, with coach Craig McRae saying the former Sydney and Hawthorn player has been dealing with a plantar fasciitis problem.

But De Goey’s issue flared up quickly and the Magpies are unclear how long their explosive matchwinner will sit out for.

Voss has ruled out Carlton defender Mitch McGovern, who has also been managing a hamstring issue.

But the 29-year-old is likely to be available for next Thursday night’s clash with Melbourne at the MCG.

The Blues comfortably won clearances and inside-50s against Geelong last Saturday, but they conceded goals too easily in the 13-point loss.

It left Voss fuming immediately after the match, calling the performance “unacceptable”, despite still being a chance to pinch the win in the final minutes and knock off the unbeaten Cats.

“We just felt like we fell below the standards really of how we want to defend,” he said on Thursday.

“For moments in games, for small periods of time in games, we just open that window up for too long to be able to convert and scored a little too easily on the back of it.”