Advertisement

Collingwood's Crisp closes on AFL games streak record

The two current AFL players with the longest consecutive games streaks have had vastly different weeks.

Christian Petracca's season is over, with his run of matches ending at 145 after he needed surgery on his spleen.

As the Melbourne star left the MCG in an ambulance during the King's Birthday game, Collingwood midfielder Jack Crisp was winning his duel with Clayton Oliver - and best-afield honours.

So while Petracca starts his long, painful road to recovery, Crisp has played 227 consecutive games - now second on the all-time list and only 17 behind Melbourne great Jim Stynes.

Crisp is a major reason why injury-ravaged Collingwood are far greater than the sum of their parts and will start firm favourites against North Melbourne on Sunday at Marvel Stadium.

While the Kangaroos would dearly love an upset to celebrate their 1999 premiership reunion, it's hard to see Crisp and the Magpies letting that happen.

Jack Crisp.
Jack Crisp has Jim Stynes's consecutive games record in his sights. (Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS)

Collingwood coach Craig McRae said after the Melbourne win Crisp had enjoyed "an amazing month" of form.

"Crispy's one of the best defensive players in the comp right now - his pressure around the ball has been enormous," McRae said.

"He's running on top of the ground, breaking out at centre bounces. He's at the height of his game.

"He had a slow start to the season and it's no coincidence our team has started to play a bit better because of his performances."

While Crisp was a key member of last year's premiership team, and is a two-time club best and fairest winner, he has never been rewarded with All-Australian honours.

But the matter-of-fact Magpie just gets on with his job.

"You come to training, you work hard, try to get better every day, and then I get to go home and mentally switch off with my wife and kids," he said.

"It's a big plus and helps me with that footy-life balance. Then I get a lot of treatment outside the club, inside the club too - make sure the body is cherry-ripe each week."

Tew Jiath.
Tew Jiath will debut for Collingwood against North Melbourne. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

Crisp's reliability and consistency also reflects why Collingwood's premiership defence remains alive despite their long casualty list.

As Nathan Kreuger showed with his three goals against Melbourne, anyone who comes into their side knows exactly what he has to do.

North coach Alastair Clarkson said after his side's first win of the season last week against West Coast that the Kangaroos must bring their best again on Sunday.

"They're a difficult side to exploit because they're just so powerful right across the ground," Clarkson said of the Magpies.

"We've just got to play our brand as best we possibly can and tackle and apply pressure like we did last week.

"If we don't apply that pressure to Collingwood, if they've got time and space with the ball, they'll just cut anyone to pieces with their efficiency."

Ruckman Brynn Teakle will play his first game for North, while Collingwood defender Tew Jiath will make his AFL debut.

Magpies star Nick Daicos was nursing a sore shin after the King's Birthday game, but has been named to play.

Premiership defender Oleg Markov (back) was withdrawn from the Pies' squad on Saturday, replaced by Reef McInnes in the 23.