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Billy Higgins  March 8, 2018 9:40 PM

McLarty: "Loving the new role" Sam McLarty spoke post-game following the side's VFL practice match against Richmond.

Collingwood went down by 10 points to last season’s Grand Finalists Richmond in the team’s first VFL practice match of 2018.

The Magpies fell behind by as many as 27 points during the third term but threatened to pull off the comeback late at Punt Road Oval.

Ruckman Sam McLarty, who was among Collingwood’s best, narrowly missed a set shot that would have put his side in front late in the final term. Richmond took the ball to the other end and goaled, maintaining their lead until the final siren.

Despite the loss, fans would have left heartened by signs showed by the team, especially the 14 AFL-listed players who took the field.

McLarty, who was drafted in 2016 as a defender, has been developing his skills as a forward and in the ruck during the preseason.

His hard work is evidently paying off. He more than held his own against Mabior Chol in the ruck, in what was a fiery match-up between two players determined to break into their respective senior sides.

McLarty also looked like a natural up forward, providing a constant threat when deployed there, finishing with two goals.

One of the highlights of the match came in the second quarter, when McLarty brought the ball to ground against two Richmond defenders, before roving his own ball and kicking a goal while being tackled.

McLarty says that he is enjoying the freedom to move around the ground in his new role.

“I’m absolutely loving it,” he told Collingwood Media post-match.

“There’s some unbelievable mentors at the club. Brodie Grundy is arguably one of the better ruckman going around. Anthony Rocca is still there teaching all the big guys how to play.

“I’m just trying to learn as much as I can.”

Brayden Sier was one of the side’s standout performers playing as an inside midfielder. Sier combined well with veteran Jarryd Blair through the centre of the ground.

Alex Fasolo, Josh Daicos, Chris Mayne and Kayle Kirby were all busy up forward, all impacting the scoreboard.

First-year players Nathan Murphy, Tyler Brown and Flynn Appleby made positive contributions in their first match in Black and White against opposition.

The VFL Magpies continue their preparations for the 2018 season next Friday night at the Holden Centre, against Coburg.

VFL Practice Match #1
Richmond v Collingwood
Thursday 8 March
Punt Road Oval


Collingwood      3.2          4.4          7.7          11.9  (75)
Richmond           4.6          7.6          10.7        13.7  (85)

BEST: Sier, McLarty, Close, Hetherington, Jarryd Blair, Fasolo
GOALS: Fasolo 2, McLarty 2, Close 2, Lane, Stanford, Daicos, Sier, Mayne

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