He’s far from their most glamorous player but Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury knows first-hand that Bernie Vince can be a game-winner for Melbourne.
The Demons veteran has been a thorn in Pendlebury’s side during their past few meetings, tagging the star Magpie to great effect while also winning plenty of his own ball.
Vince has polled Brownlow medal votes in all four of his games against the Magpies in Melbourne colours, including two games where he was judged to be best afield.
Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin is likely to be tempted to use Vince in a tagging role again when the two sides face off in the Queen’s Birthday game at the MCG.
The Magpies are looking to notch their fourth consecutive win but have lost their past three meetings with the Demons.
“They haven’t really been close – he’s given me a touch-up the last few years,” Pendlebury said on Friday.
“Then last year he played off the back-flank and I think had 40-something (disposals).
“He’s someone that we’ll look to put a bit of time into ourselves. He’s been a really important part of Melbourne getting over the line, as well as their midfield, the last three times we’ve played them.
“We certainly respect Melbourne. We’ve identified what we think they’re really good at and we’ll try and take that away from them.”
Collingwood have been forced to make at least three changes, with Daniel Wells (calf), Jamie Elliott (ankle) and Tyson Goldsack (shoulder) ruled out.
Alex Fasolo will return after taking a break to deal with mental health issues while Callum Brown – the son of former Magpies skipper Gavin – will debut at what’s likely to be a packed MCG.
“He’s a guy that came in and was really impressive early, then got glandular fever and had a bit of an interrupted run,” Pendlebury said of Brown.
“He’s played five or six games now in the VFL. He won’t be overawed by the stage. He’s a really hard-at-it guy and a fierce competitor.”