Collingwood’s sleeve-tattooed Brownlow Medallist Dane Swan hasn’t constantly put his best foot forward in terms of his off-field preparations but that is all changed this year according to coach Nathan Buckley.
Swan, who was out for two matches with hamstring soreness, returned in sensational fashion on Monday with a game-high 42 disposals as the Magpies shot to the leading of the AFL ladder with a 9-two record following their 19.15 (129) to 13.9 (87) win over Melbourne at the MCG.
The Magpies kicked the very first eight goals of the game but Melbourne at some point showed the sort of aggressive spirit which drove them to their very first win of the season final week against Essendon.
Melbourne closed to inside 25 points at the 15-minute mark of the last term and scored six objectives in the last quarter, but the Magpies booted nine as their midfield dominance proved telling.
Small forward Ben Sinclair led the way with 3 goals but seven gamers kicked two targets each which includes Swan, Jarryd Blair, Sharrod Wellingham and Alex Fasolo.
Buckley was thrilled with forward/midfielder Blair’s 27 disposals including 17 contested possessions, while Dayne Beams and Steele Sidebottom the two had far more than 35 touches as Collingwood dominated the clearances 41-33.
Blair, Swan, Beams and Sidebottom had 28 of individuals 41, handing the Demons a lesson in midfield masterclass.
“Swanny’s rehabilitation and professionalism in the last three weeks has been outstanding,” Buckley mentioned.
“He truly has worked difficult in the gymnasium, he is dotted the Is and crossed the Ts which could not possibly have been an region he has been renowned for in the previous.
“Plainly he’s reaping the rewards of his operate, when he has not been enjoying, to get that hammy correct and his body in wonderful form to hit the ground working.”
The two sides have a bye next week, but Collingwood’s substantial spirits following their difficult-fought win have already been dampened by two-time All-Australian Alan Didak’s groin tear in the first two minutes of Monday’s game.
Onballer Nathan Jones had 31 disposals for the Demons although ex-Lion Mitch Clark continued his fine season with 4 ambitions, nine marks and 16 possessions.
Demons coach Mark Neeld, who was an assistant at Collingwood last year, says the Magpies play with a finals-like intensity.
“We want a sense of urgency for individuals and as a group. We just want to get greater at some of the decisions we make under the heat (of battle),” Neeld explained.
Clark mentioned the Demons just did not provide a team effort in the opening term.
“We didn’t have enough guys joining in at the start off of the game. That’s what cost us,” he mentioned.