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Preparations for tight turnaround begin

Superb Stephenson catches his breath Watch as Jaidyn Stephenson joins Collingwood Media to reflect on a career-best performance, moments after a 48 point win over the Adelaide Crows.

Collingwood will give its players more time away from the club this week but won't alter its program drastically as it prepares for almost back-to-back clashes in round five and six.

After a stirring win over Adelaide last week, the Magpies face Essendon next Wednesday in their annual ANZAC Day meeting before playing reigning premiers Richmond the following Sunday.

It means the club will have only three full days off between their next two games, but Magpies’ General Manager of Football Geoff Walsh said the club wouldn't be selecting the side against the Bombers with an eye on the Tigers game.

“You can't pre-empt it. As working through the three games in 16 days will prove, there will be some turnover of players and there'll be attrition of players through fatigue or an inability to back up so quickly or injuries,” Walsh told AFL Media.

“But you don't say that, ‘We’re going to make three changes this week’ or, ‘We’re going to take this bloke into this game but not that game’ necessarily.

“You see how things pan out, but the result is that certainly we’ll use more players than we normally would in a three-game period.”

The Pies are likely to give their players three days away from the club before the ANZAC Day game, with main training sessions expected on Saturday and Monday.

Walsh said it was important to lighten to loads on the players and manage their training before the Essendon and Richmond battles.



Sam Murray and Jack Crisp celebrate Collingwood's win over Adelaide on Friday night.

“It’s a pretty similar program, you just stretch it out for the long breaks and compress it for the shorter ones,” he said.

“There’ll be no strenuous stuff between the short break for obvious reasons and there'll be probably a couple of extra breaks for the boys this week because you don't want to and you can't keep them going for 12 days in between games.

“We'll have a bit more time off away from the normal program – there might be a couple of swimming sessions and so on – but in essence the structure of the program won't change too much.”

Veteran midfielder Daniel Wells played in the VFL on the weekend in his return from a hamstring injury but was rested for the final term and won't be in calculations for next week’s clash, while Taylor Adams and Jamie Elliott, who both went down with minor hamstring injuries last week, are also unlikely.

Collingwood shocked the Crows last weekend with a 48-point win at Adelaide Oval for its second win of the season, with fourth-gamer Jaidyn Stephenson booting five goals in a breakout performance.

The Pies have had a strong record over the Bombers in recent ANZAC Day clashes, winning three of the past four contests.

Essendon declined to comment on its plans for the next two weeks, which will be the club's first Wednesday game and four-day turnaround since 2012.