Andrew Swallow has been one of North's best in 2012. Image courtesy of skynews.com.au
Collingwood and North Melbourne both go into this vital clash full of confidence having scored memorable wins last weekend. The Magpies beat league leaders Sydney away from home to move within reach of a top two finish and home game in the first week of the finals, while the Kangaroos scored a determined victory over Essendon despite losing key players early on through injury.
Dane Swan continues to sit on the sidelines after being handed a two match ban by Collingwood officials for an off field indiscretion, but Dale Thomas is fit to play after recovering a corked thigh that forced him from the ground against the Swans.
Daniel Wells and Leigh Adams have been ruled out for the Kangaroos after suffering injuries against the Bombers last week, but get Jack Ziebell back following the completion of his controversial four game ban for rough conduct.
Where It Will be Won
– There has been a lot of talk this year about where Collingwood forward Travis Cloke will be playing next year, with a host of potential suitors lining up to sign the 25 year old. His performances in 2012 have hardly set the world on fire however and he has bagged four or more goals just once since round 13. Compare that to Kangaroos forward lynchpin Drew Petrie , who has failed to kick four or more goals only once in the past five rounds. Several other players have stood up for Collingwood when their big man has faltered, but there will soon come a time when his lack of scoring power will hurt the Magpies.
– North has lost its past four fixtures against Collingwood by an average margin of 80 points, but will go into this game hopeful of toppling one of the competition front runners. The Kangaroos have won eight of their past nine and their scalps in 2012 include Adelaide and reigning premiers Geelong, but the loss of Wells and Adams will hurt them. Collingwood 1-39
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