Collingwood’s finals hopes won’t be completely dashed with a loss to Melbourne, but skipper Scott Pendlebury admits the Pies will struggle to make September if they can’t find a way to beat the Demons.
Collingwood haven’t lost a Queen’s Birthday clash to Melbourne since 2007 and with their season teetering on the brink at 4-7, the Pies must continue that winning run.
“I don’t think it’s season over (if we lose), but it makes it tough to get back from,” Pendlebury said.
“So it’s a must-win game for us.”
Collingwood are also out to regain some lost respect.
The Pies’ faltering season had started to point in the right direction with wins over Brisbane and Geelong and a solid effort in a loss to the Western Bulldogs.
But Pendlebury admitted last week’s 67-point drubbing at the hands of Port Adelaide was big setback.
“It was a really important game against Port and we got shown up,” he said.
“So we need to make sure that we come out with the mentality that we had against Brisbane, Geelong and the Bulldogs.
“I think we’d found a little bit of respect from the competition in those three weeks and then we washed it all away with how we played on Sunday.”
Travis Cloke didn’t manage a goal against the Power in his first game back from a stint in the VFL but Pendlebury expects he will be given another opportunity to find form against Melbourne.
Former Demon Jeremy Howe will need to pass a test to face his old side after suffering knee and adductor injuries against Port.