Pies seek height advantage in AFL clash

Collingwood are hoping to capitalise on a height advantage when Richmond take just one ruckman into Thursday night’s AFL showdown.

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick will revert to a Shaun Grigg-type back-up for big man Ivan Soldo in the MCG clash that restarts the season after an almost three-month break

It means two-time premiership ruckman Toby Nankervis won’t play, with third-gamer Marlion Pickett a chance to pinch-hit against All-Australian Magpie Brodie Grundy.

Key forwards Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt could also help Soldo in around the ground ball-ups.

Richmond believe this year’s shorter quarters will lead to a quicker brand of football and are aiming to use more explosive ground-level players.

But even with giant American Mason Cox missing out on selection, Collingwood have brought in former Sydney ruckman Darcy Cameron to support Grundy.

Magpies captain Scott Pendlebury said his team would back in their talls against the Tigers’ runners.

Grundy monstered Western Bulldogs ruckman Tim English with 37 hitouts to 11 in the Magpies’ thumping round one win in March.

“Obviously for them, they see things they can get an advantage but with us we’ve structured up no different to how we usually structure up,” Pendlebury told reporters.

“We’ve got a pretty fit list available so hopefully we can get some advantage out of our ruck work if they’ve got an undersized guy in there.

“But we also understand they’ll probably be able to pressure a bit better with some more nimble guys around the footy.”

The Pies have again overlooked 2018 Rising Star Jaidyn Stephenson after he missed round one, with Jordan De Goey and Jamie Elliott preferred as the explosive small forwards.

“If he can string some good (reserves) games together (that will only help Stephenson); he had an interrupted preparation,” Pendlebury said.

“I think with Jordy, ‘Billy’ (Elliott) up and about and ‘Stepho’ playing a bit of catch up, he just needs to get some runs under his belt.”

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