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Pendlebury, Sidebottom could surrender to stacked Magpies midfield


Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley enters 2019 with a very healthy problem.

Following the return of premiership star Dayne Beams from Brisbane, the Magpies now boast the strongest midfield in the AFL.

Led by captain Scott Pendlebury, reigning joint Best & Fairest winner Steele Sidebottom, Adam Treloar, Taylor Adams and with Beams back in the mix, the Pies have a plethora of quality at the elite end.

Throw in the likes of Brayden Sier, Travis Varcoe, Tom Phillips, Chris Mayne, Levi Greenwood, James Aish, a fit Daniel Wells and Jordan de Goey at times, and there is an embarrassment of riches in the midfield ranks.

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This may force a reshuffling of the pack through the centre and as a result, Buckley admits that some of his most commanding on-ballers will be forced to relinquish their starring roles.

"All of the midfielders these days need to have another spot on the ground they can go to, not just to fill a gap, but to have influence and bring value," Buckley told’s Mitch Cleary.

"That's the challenge to the guys who want midfield time for us, that when they go to different roles, they're actually adding value above the guys that would be in those roles if they were there.

"Pendles is an inside player, but he's also a very smart player, so he could be on the fringe in front (of the ball), behind or even on the wing.

"Steele (Sidebottom) will find himself in different positions."

Buckley also made it quite clear that he will not hesitate to drop big-name players if need be.

"We will continue to present a balanced side that can play its best football together," he added.

"It might mean that one of the names doesn't play or that you rotate them through a little bit more, that’s the reality and we'll never be putting the individual above the best team footy.”

E1MeGe18AT1965 Taylor Adams and Adam Treloar are key cogs in a very deep Magpies midfield

Speaking on SEN Breakfast, Tim Watson highlighted this particular scenario as the key defining factor in forecasting the season ahead for last year’s runners-up.

"What a great position to be in as the coach,” said the Essendon great.

"To be able to say, ‘We’ve got so many players capable of playing in the midfield, if you don’t do what we want you to do and you don’t perform at your absolute best, then you’ll find yourselves on the sidelines’.

"That’s a great position for him to be in.

"It goes to the heart of what we keep saying about Collingwood and that is that they are one of the teams to beat this year for the flag.”


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