Steady plan for flighty Pies

Sunday Tasmanian - - Sport - THEMERCURY.COM.AU JA­SON PHE­LAN SUN­DAY MAY 28 2017

COLLING­WOOD’S mad­den­ing in­con­sis­tency has been a con­stant source of frus­tra­tion for Mag­pies fans this AFL sea­son but that stops to­day. Quite sim­ply, it has to. Nathan Buck­ley’s men haven’t man­aged back-to-back wins this sea­son as they’ve stum­bled to a 3-6 record.

Last week’s stun­ning come­from-be­hind win over Hawthorn might have given the Pies’ sea­son and Buck­ley’s coach­ing ca­reer a shot in the arm, but it won’t count for much if they slip up against cel­lar-dwelling Bris­bane at the MCG.

“It’s vi­tal for us be­cause we’re so far be­hind the eight ball as it is,” Pies as­sis­tant coach Robert Har­vey said.

“We need to just keep chip­ping away and try to get some wins un­der our belt.

“We’ve got some games to catch up on that we’ve given away early in the sea­son, so this is a re­ally big game for us.

“We’ve just got to win and any­thing it takes to do that we will. We’ve got to start to claw back that win-loss ra­tio.

“We’ve ob­vi­ously been re­ally in­con­sis­tent this year so we need to see more con­sis­tency in our game both on of­fence and de­fence.

“But there’s enough good that you can see each week with us to think that we’re not far away.”

For­mer No.6 draft pick Matt Scharen­berg will play his first game since round 23 of the 2015 sea­son af­ter over­com­ing a sec­ond knee re­con­struc­tion.

The 21-year-old was put in the line-up with Tim Broom­head, with James Aish (con­cus­sion) and Henry Schade (omit­ted) de­part­ing the side that de­feated the Hawks.

An en­counter with the last­placed Lions ap­pears a timely op­por­tu­nity for the stop-start Pies to build some con­fi­dence. Chris Fa­gan’s side car­ries an eight-game los­ing streak into to­day’s clash, but Har­vey has been im­pressed with as­pects of their game.

“Nearly ev­ery match they’ve played they’ve looked likely in patches,” Har­vey said.

“When they get their run­ning game go­ing, even against Ade­laide last week (in an 80point loss), they looked danger­ous early.

“So they’re go­ing to have their mo­ments but it’s a mat­ter of us putting up a bit more of what we saw in the sec­ond half against Hawthorn for the whole game.”

Fa­gan made five changes bring­ing in Tom Cut­ler, Daniel McS­tay, Ryan Bastinac, Rhys Mathieson and Archie Smith.

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