It might only be a pre-season competition but Collingwood are claiming a much-needed confidence boost after a convincing win over AFL premiers Hawthorn.
At Launceston’s Aurora Stadium on Thursday night the Magpies led at every break and ran away winners 17.14 (116) to 2.8.6 (72) in the NAB Challenge opener.
“It’s good validation for what we’ve put in place over the off season,” coach Nathan Buckley said of the his side who finished 11th in the 2014 season.
“It’s really only the first step.
“We want to be a side that plays our brand of footy regardless of who’s on the park.”
He said Thursday’s clash was a chance to test young players, including Steele Sidebottom who skippered the team for the first time in the absence of regular captain Scott Pendlebury.
Draft pick Jordan De Goey impressed the coach and even added his name to the long list of goal scorers on Thursday.
“He’s an exciting talent, he’s very clean with the footy, I think his defensive skills in particular his ability to win his own football, excite us,” Buckley said of the 18-year-old.
“He doesn’t look like he’s out of place and he looks like he can handle the speed of the game to this point.”
Pendlebury and other senior players like Dane Swan and Travis Cloke who missed Thursday’s match will be phased in over coming weeks.
“They know the game so it’s just a matter of getting them robust and up and ready to go for round one,” Buckley said.
The coach also named Ben Reid, Jarrod Witts, Jarryd Blair and Paul Seedsman as all nearing season readiness.
“We’ll be looking to get game intensity into the depth of our list and that includes our senior players.”
Collingwood’s next pre-season hit up is against Carlton at Bendigo on March 15.