Ball, Swan to return for Pies

Dane Swan makes a point during training on Sunday. Photo: Eddie Jim
Dane Swan makes a point during training on Sunday. Photo: Eddie Jim

Collingwood will enter its Queen’s Birthday match against Melbourne at the MCG on Monday with a strengthened line-up, with Luke Ball and Dane Swan returning from injury.

Magpie football director Rodney Eade said the inclusion of the two star players would bolster the team's chances against the improving Demons.

"[Melbourne] are playing very well,'' he said. "Last week they pushed the top side [Port Adelaide] - that shows that they’re playing well.

"They definitely have a game plan and have a lot of confidence and belief in that. Certainly from our point of view, we don’t underestimate them.''

Jesse White, who suffered a compound fracture on a finger on his left hand in Collingwood's big win against St Kilda last weekend, has also been included in the team.

But the Magpies will be without midfielder Steele Sidebottom after he accepted a three-match suspension for rough conduct.

The match of the traditional rivals could attract a crowd of up to 80,000 at the MCG on the public holiday.

Collingwood will be hoping to continue its strong start to the season and keep alive its hopes of a top-four berth.

While Melbourne is 15th on the ladder, it is showing signs of improvement almost weekly, and kept Port Adelaide on its toes until late in the match last weekend before losing by 20 points.

Statistically, not a lot separates the teams in how they play, but it’s in tackles where the Pies are superior, making 75 a game compared with the Dees’ 64. The last time the two met, in the corresponding round last year, Collingwood won by 83 points.

Former Collingwood forward Chris Dawes will make his return from suspension for the Demons and says the seemingly mismatched game is winnable for his new team.

He said playing in front of a big large crowd would be good experience for the young Demons.

This story Ball, Swan to return for Pies first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.