Collingwood's Callum Brown gets some loving attention from Levi Greenwood and Steele Sidebottom after kicking a goal. Picgture: Julian Smith/AAP
Collingwood's Callum Brown gets some loving attention from Levi Greenwood and Steele Sidebottom after kicking a goal. Picgture: Julian Smith/AAP JULIAN SMITH

Collingwood and Richmond clash shapes as a thriller

COLLINGWOOD is riding a wave of self-belief as it prepare for its most eagerly awaited clash with bitter rival Richmond in decades.

Sunday's blockbuster at the MCG looms as arguably the biggest showdown between the AFL powerhouses since the 1980 grand final, which the Tigers won by 81 points.

Unlike during most of their recent meetings, both teams are firing on all cylinders.

Reigning premiers the Tigers are top of the ladder and have lost only one of their past 10 games, with a fourth-quarter steamrolling of Melbourne on Anzac Eve the latest example of their phenomenal pressure and defensive brilliance.

Collingwood's miserable 2017 was the polar opposite of Richmond's, but early signs this season suggest the Magpies have their mojo back.

Nathan Buckley's side is on a three-game winning streak, having backed up impressive victories over Carlton and grand finalist Adelaide with an Anzac Day demolition of Essendon.

All of a sudden, the Pies are playing with an attacking fluency, speed and swagger that has them confident of taking down the Tigers.

"We know we're coming up against a really good team but I think we're really up for it," Magpies forward Callum Brown told AAP.

"They've got heaps of self-belief but I think the great thing with our group at the moment is our belief is really high too.

"We're going to go in expecting to win."

With just a four-day turnaround from their Anzac Day game, the Pies have made two changes to their 22.

Forgotten forward Chris Mayne is in for his first game since round three last season and Jarryd Blair has also earned a call-up, with Travis Varcoe and Ben Crocker rested.

Richmond has recalled premiership trio Nick Vlastuin, Josh Caddy and Jack Graham in place of Brandon Ellis, Sam Lloyd and Jacob Townsend.

With the Tigers on an 11-game winning streak at the MCG, the Magpies are likely to persist with a midfield tagging role.

Brown could be in line for such a role, having run with Essendon ball magnet Zach Merrett during the Anzac Day game.

- AAP


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