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Mihocek to debut

Dinny Navaratnam - AFL Media  May 31, 2018 2:16 PM

RAW: Bucks on selection and Freo Hear from coach Nathan Buckley as Collingwood prepares to take on Fremantle in round 11 at the MCG. During his press conference, Buckley also announced the impending debut of rookie Brody Mihocek, who joined the club in November 2016. Mihocek is a 26-year-old Tasmanian who rose to prominence with VFL club Port Melbourne.

Collingwood mature-age rookie Brody Mihocek will make his debut on Sunday against Fremantle while midfielder Daniel Wells is ready to return.

Mihocek, 25, has played as a defender for much of his career but will line up in the forward line.

Wells was rested last week and completed run-throughs after training but Magpies coach Nathan Buckley said the onballer would be back, provided the 33-year-old pulled up well from training on Thursday.

"He looks good. See how he pulls up from training today but has had a couple of good, solid sessions and he's available," Buckley said at the Holden Centre.

Wells' additional training was because he missed the victory over the Western Bulldogs.

"He obviously hasn't played so he hasn't got the soreness that the other boys have got at the moment, so he (got) a little bit of extra work in," Buckley said.

Mihocek's inclusion comes after 51 VFL matches, as well as 13 in the now-defunct development league.

The Tasmanian had stints at Werribee and Port Melbourne before arriving at the Pies in last year's rookie draft via pick No.22.

"He'll play forward. He's played there the last couple of weeks and looked really good," Buckley said.

"I said to the boys, the chances of him playing a senior game were at a certain level and the chances of him playing a senior game as a forward in his first game were probably going to be pretty slim, but that's exactly what he's going to be."

Brody Mihocek in action for Collingwood's VFL team (AFL Photos)

The move of Chris Mayne to a wing has proven a success and the former Fremantle forward has played the past five matches.

Mayne will face the Dockers, the side he represented for nine years, for the first time this weekend.

"Mayney was probably pigeon-holed a little bit by us, and I suppose through his career, as a pressure forward. He hit the scoreboard regularly in that role," Buckley said.

"His body shape's a little bit different to what it was at Freo a couple of years ago. He's a bit slighter. I don't know exactly how much lighter he is but I'd estimate three, four or five kilos lighter.

"He's shown pace this year and a bit more explosiveness out of the contest."

That weight loss came because the game has evolved and requires more transition running from its competitors, with a change in his eating habits helping him trim down.

"I know that he went on a vegan diet, so that has an impact as well," Buckley said.

Buckley raised the prospect of a potentially salivating match-up between two in-form stars of the competition: Nat Fyfe and Jordan De Goey.

"Jordy's got a bit of time through the midfield last week as well and there is a bigger body that we can use," Buckley said.

"Tay Adams wasn't around earlier in the season for us as well and whilst not a brute in regards to his height, he's a very strong player."

Collingwood is sitting in eighth spot with a 6-4 record and for the first time in recent memory, Buckley's position as coach isn't being discussed with intense scrutiny.

Magpies skipper Scott Pendlebury spoke about that on his podcast, Jock and Journo.

"There's no doubt when you're living in this environment, you do realise the effects on players and staff when there's pressure points, whether they're external or internal," Buckley said.

"There's no doubt that we've gotten better as a club dealing with that. This group of people is largely unchanged.

"There's probably a five or 10 per cent shift in personnel but the environment feels like it's very different. Winning helps. Performance helps.

"A little bit of clear air doesn't hurt as well."