Pendlebury doubt for Dees' date

Sportal June 4, 2012, 7:40 am
Scott Pendlebury

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Collingwood superstar Scott Pendlebury is in doubt for the Magpies' traditional Queen's Birthday engagement with Melbourne next round after he 'tweaked' his knee against Gold Coast at the MCG on Sunday evening.

The Brownlow Medal favourite appeared to cop a heavy knock to his right knee in the opening minutes of the Magpies' 97-point rout of the Suns.

But Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said the injury was minor and revealed Pendlebury's substitution at half-time was precautionary more than anything.

"Ultimately we thought we had control of the game and we had planned to use our sub pretty close to half-time," Buckley said.

"Pendles obviously had that incident, he was able to run through it through the first half and we'll see how he recovers."

Buckley revealed the scenario which saw an incapacitated Luke Ball sent out again to the field of battle in Round 3 only to then suffer a season-ending knee injury weighed heavily on the coaching staff when deciding to throw the red vest Pendlebury's way.

Round 10 will forever be remembered as the weekend when premiership contenders West Coast, Essendon and Carlton all lost to bottom-five sides, and Buckley said those huge upsets added extra stress on Collingwood to get the job done against the winless Suns.

"In a funny way, the results of the weekend probably steeled our resolve to make sure that we focused on process-driven things rather than result-driven (things)," he said.

"The external perception is that you just should win but (we) probably had more stress this week than during a normal week because of that."

Despite sitting in fourth spot on the ladder and having won their past seven matches in a row, this year's Collingwood team is still a work in progress according to Buckley.

"I've been encouraged by the fact that we've developed and improved and grown as a group," he said.

"The 2012 model of Collingwood is still in development stages and we're playing better football now than we were earlier in the year and we want to be playing better football towards the end than we are at the moment."

Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett equalled Greg Williams' 23-year-old record disposal tally of 53 during the match, but the little superstar didn't pay much attention to the feat.

"It doesn't mean too much when you lose by 100 points," Ablett said.

Suns coach Guy McKenna expressed frustration at many of his younger players going back into their shells since Ablett returned to the team in Round 7.

Gold Coast led North Melbourne at half-time and narrowly lost to Fremantle during Ablett's two-week absence due to a knee injury.

But Ablett's less experienced team-mates appear to have lost the desire to take the initiative since his return.

"We've highlighted the ability of our midfielders to actually win it (the ball) when Gaz (Ablett) and Michael Rischitelli weren't in there so I'm frustrated, if you like, to think that now that they're back, how come they're not doing it," McKenna said.

"Are they just sitting back on their haunches expecting our senior players to do that? That would be a frustration, a disappointment if you like."

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