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Pies unfazed by week off

Pies unfazed by week off

COLLINGWOOD defender Jeremy Howe says he doesn’t believe having the week off will make a difference to their AFL preliminary final hopes.

The Magpies are focusing on recovery this week after earning a week off with Friday night’s qualifying final win over Geelong – a different proposition to last year’s tough run.

Collingwood lost their first final last year before fighting their way to the grand final, but Howe said that had allowed them to build form by playing each week.

“I don’t think it makes a difference – just whoever’s better on the day gets the job done,” Howe said on Tuesday.

“Last year we ended up playing every game so we managed to find some form throughout the finals series. So having the week off you don’t get to play so therefore you don’t get a win.

“But in saying that, we’ll take it because we don’t have to play to get through to a prelim.”

This year, the Magpies have been bolstered by the availability of talented but injury-prone duo Jamie Elliott and Darcy Moore, who were both sidelined last year.

“I think they’re two genuine A-graders that we didn’t have last year,” Howe said.

“But in saying that we were playing pretty good footy at this time of year last year as well and we’ve always been a side that we rely on system over individual brilliance, although we do celebrate it.”

The Magpies will be forced into at least two changes after Levi Greenwood tore his ACL and Jordan De Goey suffered another hamstring injury.

Howe said De Goey had landed in Germany to receive treatment from hamstring specialist Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt.

Running defender James Aish is available for selection after overcoming a shoulder injury and shapes as one of the potential replacements.

The Magpies will play the winner of Saturday’s clash between Brisbane and GWS in their preliminary final, and Howe said despite grand-final heartbreak in 2018, they could take confidence out of their run to last year’s decider.

“I think we’re confident in what we do works,” Howe said.

“Clearly we were unfortunate last year to miss out by a kick but in saying that we’re still as driven and as hungry as ever but we still believe that our footy stacks up.”

© AAP 2019