Collingwood stars Scott Pendlebury and Dane Swan worked so well together in the AFL, often no talking was needed during a game.
But one of the challenges for Pendlebury this season will be to build that rapport with other teammates in the Magpies midfield.
While Swan will still have spells on the ball, the plan is for him to play much more in attack.
Instead, younger onballers such as recruit Adam Treloar and Taylor Adams will have the chance to work more with Pendlebury in the midfield rotations.
“It’s a bit different, obviously we know how each other plays so well,” Pendlebury said of Swan.
“We got to the stage where we didn’t even have to talk – you could just look at each other, a wink and a nod, and we knew what was going on.
“Now for me it’s about learning that with the other guys who are in there.”
Pendlebury is intrigued how Swan will go with a more permanent forward role, noting the 2011 Brownlow Medallist already has shown he knows where the goals are.
The Magpies skipper also laughed off talk that Swan, a laid-back character, has suddenly started doing weights.
“He said he’s enjoying weights,” Pendlebury said with mock surprise.
“He’s had a good pre-season and he really knows how to manage his body.
“I’m sure he plays it up that he’s never done a weight in his life because I’ve seen him in the gym numerous times.
“He’s a really good athlete – he doesn’t look like it because of all the tatts, but he’s a fantastic footballer.”
At the other end of the experience spectrum at Collingwood, Treloar is impressing Pendlebury after joining from GWS.
Treloar returned in Collingwood’s last NAB Challenge game and made an immediate impression.
“That’s just a small glimpse of what to expect from the year from ‘Ads’,” Pendlebury.
“He’s a super-professional, hard-working guy who leaves no stone unturned.”
Expectations are high at Collingwood after missing the finals for the last two years.
Pendlebury said they now have to reap the benefits of strong recruiting and the development of younger players.
“It’s definitely been an exciting summer for us – we have a lot of guys on the track training and a lot of fit guys to pick from for round one,” he said.
“Then we’ve had a lot of guys re-sign and extend contracts and Bucks (coach Nathan Buckley) has just extended.
“All the supporters should be rapt that there’s a clear direction and everyone is buying in, happy to be there.
“It’s just about converting all that into four points on Saturday in Sydney.”