Buckley backs Grundy for big AFL duel

Collingwood star Brodie Grundy, this year's likely All-Australian ruckman, will take on West Coast duo Nic Naitanui and Tom Hickey this Friday night.

BRODIE GRUNDY
BRODIE GRUNDY Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The AFL challenges keep coming for Collingwood star Brodie Grundy and this time, it's double-barrelled.

Grundy will be up against comeback West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui and new sidekick Tom Hickey in Friday night's Perth Stadium blockbuster.

The Magpies will need a big performance from Grundy if they are to upset the reigning premiers in the grand final rematch.

While the Eagles have won their last three games, Collingwood are in a mid-season slump with two losses.

They've also lost their last four matches against West Coast.

Naitanui has looked impressive in his two games since returning from a knee reconstruction and Hickey is providing solid support.

"He (Naitanui) asks the question, especially when it's the centre bounce, and even when he plays low game time, he has high impact," Buckley said.

"I'm sure Brodes would be looking forward to that challenge and Mason (Cox) supporting him.P

"We'll need to stand up in that area, to give our mids some access to the ball.

Grundy is well on the way to his another All-Australian selection, but he has not been quite so dominant over the last fortnight.

Buckley, who criticised Grundy three weeks ago - and then gave him votes in the AFL coaches' award - said the Magpies ruckman sets a high standard for himself.

"We get a bit greedy, don't we?," Buckley said of expectations in the AFL about Grundy.

"Brodes' effort is unquestioned and the way he goes about it is enormous.

"He stands up for his teammates and he wears his heart on his sleeve.

"I have no doubt we'll get another huge effort from him, as we always do."


AAP