Thomas expected to face Cats

Sportal July 13, 2012, 4:00 pm
Dale Thomas

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Collingwood midfielder Dale Thomas is likely to play against Geelong in Saturday night's blockbuster at the MCG, according to team-mate Jarryd Blair.

Thomas suffered a bruised right foot in the club's loss to Carlton last week but has been named to take on the Cats as the Magpies look to bounce back from their first loss since April.

The 25-year-old completed a light training session at Gosch's Paddock on Friday, kicking exclusively with his left foot for the first 30 minutes, only using his right in the final stages.

"The way he's been carrying on this morning, I think he'll train and it looks like all is well there," said Blair before the session.

Having Thomas fit would be a significant boost for the Magpies, who also welcome back 2011 best-and-fairest winner Scott Pendlebury for the first time since he suffered a fractured tibia against Gold Coast in Round 10.

On the eve of his 50th game for the club, Blair spoke candidly about their rivalry with Geelong, who came from 13 points down to defeat the Magpies by 38 in the 2011 Grand Final.

"(The rivalry) is probably the best one for the last five or six years," he said.

"I remember when I first got to the club, we were striving to get to where they (Geelong) were, and they're still right up there.

"It's something that the players do look at a little bit when you go into a game."

Pendlebury is not the only big inclusion for Collingwood this week, with key position players Chris Tarrant and Nathan Brown also returning for Nathan Buckley's men.

"To have those blokes back in is pretty important to us," he said.

"'Pendles' (Pendlebury) has had a month and a half off and 'Taz' (Tarrant) has missed a fair bit of the season and it's good to have 'Browny' (Brown) back in the side too."

The Magpies had just four goal-kickers in their Round 13 win over West Coast and only six players kicked majors in their 23-point loss to Carlton.

And Blair hinted that Tarrant - who has primarily been used as a defender since returning to Collingwood in 2011 - may be swung forward with Geelong still missing big man James Podsiadly (ankle) in attack.

"I think he's proven himself to be able to kick a few goals down there. It would be pretty exciting if he did go down there. I think a lot of the Pies' supporters would love to see him back forward and maybe take a few big grabs," he said.

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