Collingwood coach Craig McRae has urged Brayden Maynard not to alter his “hard, uncompromising” approach in an AFL preliminary final battle with Greater Western Sydney that will likely have him in direct competition with Giants match-winner Toby Greene.
Brayden Maynard beat a rough conduct charge from the first week of finals to allow him to face GWS
McRae says Maynard matches up well against Greene
Collingwood thrashed GWS by 65 points in their only previous clash this season
Maynard was cleared to play when he beat a rough conduct charge at the tribunal over his smothering attempt that left Melbourne’s Angus Brayshaw knocked out.
The hotly debated incident, and its fallout, has presented an unwanted distraction for the Magpies in their premiership quest.
But it won’t result in any special instructions from McRae ahead of Friday night’s blockbuster at a sold-out MCG.
“I steer away from telling players how to play to their strengths,” McRae said.
“We want to encourage them to be the best version of themselves and [Maynard] is a hard, uncompromising player.
“Unfortunately, that one just treaded on the line and Brayshaw … I still hope he’s OK. Two or three weeks later, we still care about the guy.
“We lose sight of that when we move on to the next thing but hopefully he’s going well.”
Brayshaw missed Melbourne’s semifinal defeat to Carlton under concussion protocols and would have been in doubt for a preliminary final had the Demons progressed.
Maynard, meanwhile, shapes as a key figure in Collingwood’s defensive structure and the ideal match-up for GWS superstar Greene.
Greene has kicked a career-best 64 goals this season, including three in last week’s semifinal win over Port Adelaide, and was named All-Australian captain.
“He has a good record against [Greene] but he’s a quality player and so significant in the way they’re playing,” McRae said.
“They’re in great form, so it will be a match-up to watch.”
Collingwood thrashed GWS by 65 points in the rivals’ only previous clash this season.
That was back in round nine, when Greene and key defender Sam Taylor were sidelined with hamstring injuries.
“It’s a long time ago … so much has changed,” McRae said.
“They’ve won 10 of their last 12 or whatever it looks like and they’re playing some super footy.
“We’re going to have to bring our best defensive game to match their offence.”
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Source: AFL NEWS ABC