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Young guns shine in VFL warm-up

Collingwood’s strength in depth was on display Friday night in its VFL practice match win over Coburg.

The club’s AFL-listed players were absent as they prepared for round one against Geelong, so its young players were given the chance to show their aptitude at VFL level.

The young Magpies team eventually finished strongly against the visitors to win 9.6 (60) to 5.5 (35).

Coach Jared Rivers says it was a positive experience for the club’s younger players to test themselves against VFL opposition.

“We’ve got 10 or so players that played tonight that have had their first pre-season here. It’s great to see those guys understand their role within the team and then go out there and play it,” Rivers said.

“The opportunity for spots is going to get harder and harder every week, especially early in the year when we’ve got a healthy list at AFL level.”

The VFL team for next week and beyond will look drastically different to tonight’s, as the club’s AFL players return to the side.

Rivers was pleased to see the less experienced players on his list were putting their names forward for selection in the coming matches.

“Nick Kempe for example, he’s a rookie-listed player and came in and played a role for us, he looked really dangerous on a wing,” Rivers said. 

“You’ve got the likes of Campbell Hustwaite who was really impressive and has the opportunity for a 23rd man role.

“Zimmer (Anthony Zimmerman), who was on our rookie list last year and made our senior list this year and played as our high forward and played really well.

“Those guys might play early on, depending on how we look in our AFL team.”

The Pies’ next warm-up game will be a de facto curtain-raiser to the AFL opener against Geelong. The Cats’ VFL outfit will travel to the Holden Centre to play at 4.00 pm.