Training day: Dane Swan eludes Scott Pendlebury.COLLINGWOOD captain Nick Maxwell expects to be rested at stages this season to ensure his body is as good as it can be come September.
In a sign the Magpies are starting to think about Maxwell’s longevity as he nears 30, the skipper conceded he was now no different to any other veteran player at the club when it came to being managed over the season.
It is the first time Maxwell has faced the possibility of sitting out games to refresh rather than recover, in part due to the fact he has missed a handful of matches each season since 2007 anyway, through injury or suspension.
Resting Maxwell would mean Scott Pendlebury would step in as captain for those games.
Maxwell said he understood why the club wanted to rest its older players, if only to give less-experienced players crucial game time to ensure they were ready, if needed, to play a role in big games.
”That [resting players] has happened against the newer teams in the competition, like Gold Coast and [Greater Western Sydney]. But what it also does is give others a chance,” he said on Wednesday.
”We want to make sure, should we lose someone during the year, that we’ve got someone who can step in, and they haven’t played 10 games of VFL and have to come into the seniors. It’s too hard to do that. So we understand it [resting] is part of football now.
”I know the older players, it’s pretty hard to convince them to take the week off and rest up, because they’re used to playing every game.”
Collingwood’s defensive depth – including the acquisitions of Clinton Young and Jordan Russell – makes the thought of resting Maxwell much easier.
The skipper also admitted that he thought his team had lost the unshakeable belief that had given Collingwood a certain air of invincibility throughout the 2010 and 2011 seasons, when the Pies won a premiership and lost a grand final to Geelong under former coach Mick Malthouse.
”Once you get that belief, you just expect to go out there and win every single game,” he said.
”And at times last year we didn’t have that. We did lose confidence and we did drop off a bit in terms of our application at different times.”
Maxwell’s admission came a day after comments from Magpie coach Nathan Buckley suggesting Dane Swan’s hunger dipped a notch last season from the high benchmark he had set previously.
”I think there’s more of a hunger than I’ve seen in the last two years. After 2010, when you get that success, you think you can just roll along,” Maxwell said.
”We had success in 2011, we only lost to one team [Geelong] for the whole year, but we lost to them three times, and when it mattered. Last year was a change with a new coach and a different game plan and we lost a few guys to injury.
”But this year the hunger is back again. The last four months since we’ve come back [to training], it’s just been impressive to see how guys have attacked the pre-season.
”I just think it’s been decisions within individuals that they don’t want to be in that situation of losing games and losing preliminary finals like we were before 2010.”
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