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Crowd favourite Didak has earned his spot: Lappin

Peter Ryan  September 6, 2013 10:54 AM

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Alan Didak is set to impose himself on the finals for Collingwood

We're a lot more dangerous in attack with both Reid and [Travis] Cloke as viable options

QUINTEN Lynch and Nathan Brown will play in Saturday night's semi-final against Port Adelaide if they get through Collingwood's final training session on Friday morning.

Both players suffered minor injuries in Sunday's round 23 loss against North Melbourne but have been selected to play on Saturday night.

The Magpies retained Alan Didak and included Luke Ball and Harry O'Brien into the team.

Collingwood assistant coach Matthew Lappin said Didak – who returned to the senior side two weeks ago as a substitute – had earned his spot on merit. 

"Since he has come back in, Didak has provided real energy and enthusiasm to the boys out on the ground. He has had to work hard to get back in, but I think that has made him really hungry," Lappin said.

"The crowd goes berserk when he gets on the field and you can't deny that is a lift for our players as well."

Lappin said small forward Jamie Elliott (who has kicked 30 goals in 19 games in 2013) was unlucky to miss selection but with a question mark still remaining over a few players, Lappin said anyone in the squad of 25 was a chance to play. 

The Magpies were defeated by Port Adelaide by 35 points in round 14 at AAMI Stadium. Collingwood was coming off a bye and battling for consistency but Lappin said the team has improved since that loss.

"I think it probably built a couple of weeks after that. We played Essendon and Sydney and a few of the other teams and got a little bit of momentum out of that and some belief in what we were doing," Lappin said.

"We made some structural changes like Ben Reid going forward and Lachie Keeffe going back and it has just changed the dynamic a little bit."

Port Adelaide has only played at the MCG four times in the past four seasons but has a 43 percent success rate at the venue.

Collingwood is expecting a tough battle against Port Adelaide who has been in good form all season.

Lappin said he was aware of their opponent's run and ability to use the ball well however he said the Magpies rated themselves a chance against every team.

"I think our best footy stands up against the best sides," Lappin said. "We can contest really well around the ball. Our defensive numbers stack up pretty well this season particularly after the first five or six rounds this season.

“We're a lot more dangerous in attack with both Reid and [Travis] Cloke as viable options."