Captain crusher

TOUGH ASK: Midfielder Cameron Ling prepares himself at training last night. Photo: GEELONG ADVERTISER  
Wednesday, July 10

GEELONG midfielder Cameron Ling is set to face off against Collingwood skipper Nathan Buckley on Saturday afternoon at the MCG.

In the past two weeks Ling has taken the scalps of Richmond captain Wayne Campbell and West Coast's Ben Cousins and has been told by coach Mark Thompson to expect the job on Buckley.

``I get around and tell the players individually (and) he knows,'' Thompson said at training yesterday.

``He's played on him before so he seems an ideal choice but I don't know whether we'll go one out because Cameron Ling can also be a very good forward for us.''

Thompson said Ling matched up well on Buckley with his strength and endurance.

``Cameron is a midfielder and tall, like Nathan is quite tall, and he's quite strong and Nathan is quite strong,'' he said.

But Thompson said he had more to worry about than just Buckley, with Collingwood's emerging stars about one year advanced in their development compared to Geelong's stars of the future.

``We're a little bit behind in our development than Collingwood, but it should be a good test,'' he said.

``They've got some players that have been around a little bit longer, (Tarkyn) Lockyer and (Rupert) Betheras and those sort of players, (Paul) Licuria, they're just one year longer than some of ours.''

As good as Collingwood's forward line has been this year, Thompson said the real battle would be to get on top of its defence.

``I think Collingwood's defence is better than its attack, even though it's potent,'' he said.

``Their strength has been their ability to prevent sides from kicking scores.''

Collingwood represents Geelong's biggest test in more than a month and a win would set the club up for a real tilt at the finals but Thompson said he was treating it as just another game.

``I don't feel that pressure,'' Thompson said.

``I see it as an exciting opportunity and I see it as a chance to play against a side that's a good team playing very similar footy to us.

``Win, lose or draw we're going to learn and that's the way I'm going to treat the rest of the year no matter how much pressure comes on me to think any different.''

Thompson defended his out-of-form forward Ronnie Burns.

``He's not a concern,. he's no worse than what he has been any other year,'' Thompson said.

``He does get a bit frustrated from time to time but that's Ronnie.

``It must be hard playing the game with as much pressure being put on you every week by the opposition.

``If someone goes to Ronnie then someone else is going to bob up and kick goals so he's good to have in the side.