THERE won't be the café lunch with teammates, nor was there the Magpies' usual indoor pre-match meeting, but Collingwood champion Scott Pendlebury is ready to kick off football's new normal on Thursday night.
The Magpies had their last light training session on Wednesday morning ahead of their season restart clash with Richmond, with all eyes on the football world set to be glued to the MCG after the three-month COVID-19 shutdown.
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With COVID-19 protocols stopping full-scale meetings indoors at clubs, the Pies took their team meeting out onto the track at the Holden Centre in one change in usual preparations for game day.
"We're not allowed to have team meetings inside at the moment so that was our usual team meeting before the game, we just did it outside," Pendlebury said.
"It was a ripping day for it. I'm not sure how it will go when it's raining and how many guys will be that keen to get out there. It was a standard meeting for us but you got to see a little of what we do pre-game."
The tight restrictions placed on players has also meant a shift in the Magpies' captain and star midfielder's regular routine ahead of a clash.
"It's a little bit different. Usually after training today a few of the boys would grab lunch at a café and sit there and chill out," he said.
"That usually signifies the game is the next day so those little habits that you're used to over 15 years of time changes. Today I'll probably go home and have lunch at an empty house by myself."
The Magpies will enter the meeting with fellow premiership fancies Richmond with a strong squad, with Adam Treloar (calf), Mason Cox (knee) and Tom Langdon (knee) among the notable Pies missing through injury.
Pendlebury said there were no concerns about the fitness levels of the group after a solid training block heading into the season reboot.
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"I think there probably was three weeks ago when we came back into the club initially just to see where guys are at, but our fitness guys and our coaching staff were pretty strong with us over the break about what was to come when we turned back up at the club," Pendlebury said.
"We've played two full games already as part of our preparation for this so I think the nerves might have been there two or three weeks ago to make sure we're ready, but I feel like we go in tomorrow as prepared as we can be and looking forward to getting out there and playing an opposition."