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Big Pie ready for more time up forward

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Brodie Grundy set more time up forward this year - AFL,Collingwood Magpies,Brodie Grundy
Brodie Grundy set more time up forward this year

COLLINGWOOD big man Brodie Grundy is ready to spend more time in the Magpies' revamped forward line but maintains his ruck work will remain his "one wood" this season. 

Ruck partner Mason Cox has been shifted into a more permanent role in attack this pre-season with the move of key position player Darcy Moore to the other end of the ground. 

Cox showed in the Pies' second JLT Community Series match against the Western Bulldogs his potential to flourish in the role with four goals and as many contested marks. 

While Grundy said he had spent more time with the forwards this pre-season in a bid to improve his own goalkicking craft, he expected to play predominantly in the ruck when the Pies' season got underway on Saturday night against Hawthorn. 

"You're always looking to add strengths to your bow so that's something I have done," Grundy said on Monday.

"I trained a little bit more forward, but my 'one wood' is still my ruck work and I'll be looking to continuing to add strings to my bow this year in that position and really help drive the midfield going forward.

"I suppose the ruck percentage will be horses for courses, Mason has been showing some really good signs forward … I suppose it will be whoever is playing and suited each week, it will chop and change.

"He's going really well there and presenting strongly in the air - that's something that is a real strength for the team.

"For me, I need to be able to go forward and show a little bit and take a few grabs and kick some goals."

With the pre-season drawing to a close, the Pies' attention has turned to their first opponent with Grundy having already started his homework on his expected match-up for Saturday night. 

The Hawks beat the Pies by 24 points in round 15 last year in a game where Ben McEvoy pushed Grundy all the way in a hard-fought big man battle. 

"I've looked at Ben McEvoy and he played really well against me last year so I've already had a little bit of a look at last year's tape against him," Grundy said. 

"I can only really speak for myself, looking at my own opposition, and we'll delve into Hawthorn as a team tomorrow."

Recruits Jaidyn Stephenson and untried ex-Swans rookie Sam Murray could debut for the Pies in the season opener with Jamie Elliott, Daniel Wells, Levi Greenwood and Jordan De Goey sidelined. 

Grundy said Stephenson, who has impressed this pre-season with his speed and skills, didn't let on when quizzed on Monday if he'd been given the nod from coach Nathan Buckley. 

But he said the No.6 pick from last year's NAB AFL Draft had earned his spot if called upon, as had Murray. 

"I'd be rapt if [Stephenson] could get a game this week, he's shown a lot in the pre-season and has a lot of speed and is an exciting character," Grundy said. 

"What we've missed in the last couple of years, when I look at Sam Murray, is Ben Sinclair comes to mind - that really speedy good ball use, decision-making sort of player, and [also] with Brayden Maynard to spend more time in the midfield.

"The way we were able to see him play on the weekend was really showcased and highlighted because we think we've sort of lacked that player in the past.

"I think he's going to be a real asset for us."