AAP AFL

Ablett has Magpies wary before AFL opener

By AAP Newswire

The only time Gary Ablett has Scott Pendlebury feeling comfortable in an AFL match is when the Geelong star is on the bench.

The Collingwood captain is not interested in the speculation that the Cats might play Ablett in attack more often this season.

As far as Pendlebury is concerned, Ablett will be a threat in next Friday night's round-one clash wherever he is on the field.

Asked about the talk around Ablett ahead of round one, Pendlebury replied: "Are you coaching? Do you know he's going to start forward?

"I never trust opposition coaches on anything like that.

"Gary Ablett, if he's in the midfield, forward line or back line, he's probably the greatest player to play the game.

"I don't like when he's on the field, full stop."

There are also selection posers for Collingwood ahead of next Friday night's clash at the MCG, with strong depth in the midfield.

Taylor Adams will miss because of injury and Pendlebury is among the obvious starters, but otherwise there will be plenty of interest in their on-baller mix.

Key defender Darcy Moore and forward Jamie Elliott are also poised to return from injury in major boosts for the Pies.

But one certain absentee is key position player Ben Reid, who has suffered another soft-tissue leg injury.

"It's really hard to see one of your good mates continually have to go through these things," Pendlebury said.

"That's the real part of footy - a guy who puts in so much.

"He's had a whole, clean summer ... and then that little incident, hurts his quad (and) now he goes back to start to build his body back up.

"One thing I do know, he's a resilient guy, but this sort of does test you and (we will) make sure we get around him and support him as best we can."