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Skipper says Magpies bat deep

Key Magpies on verge of return Talented trio won't play in Perth but are Round 1 chances
Magpie skipper Nick Maxwell believes in the depth of this team - ${keywords}
Magpie skipper Nick Maxwell believes in the depth of this team
HAVING several players ready to step in and play their roles when required looks likely to form an important part of Collingwood's selection decisions during 2013.

The Magpies will enter the season with depth in many parts of the ground and skipper Nick Maxwell says it's important that strength is utilised so the team is ready to cover for anything that might happen.

He said it was important many players on the list were exposed to senior football regularly as the jump from VFL to AFL football continued to get bigger.

"We want to make sure that should we lose someone at any stage during the year that we have got someone who can come in and step in and they have not played 10 games of VFL footy and have to come in and play a full game in the seniors because, as you can see, it's too hard to do that," Maxwell said.

He also said the club was looking to increase the flexibility among the group, mentioning the desire to develop the ability of running defenders' Ben Johnson, Heath Shaw and Harry O'Brien to play up the ground as well as in defence.

Maxwell said in this day and age senior players had become used to having a week off every now and again so they can sustain their form throughout the season while carrying a heavy weekly load.

He said even ruckman Darren Jolly – who once played 142 consecutive games – had recognised that it was important for him to back off when the time was right and take a rest.

"Trying to convince him to have a week off every now and again given he carries such a big load was tough but now that is something he is really starting to embrace," Maxwell said.

Maxwell said he is recognising the hunger returning to the group after a disappointing end to 2012. During that time he suspects Collingwood's belief that it would win every game began to wane and the application at times dipped.

According to Maxwell not much needed to be said leading into the new season. Individuals recognised what was required and he has been impressed by the way the group has attacked training in the past four months.  

But he said words weren't worth much. It was actions that counted.

"I think at this point the belief is very high among the group, but it would be at least as high among 17 other teams," Maxwell said.

Nick Maxwell is a defender in NAB AFL Fantasy. He averaged 63.89 points in 2012. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy Hub.