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Collingwood rocked by injury ahead of Crows clash

Football

The Crows will face a Collingwood side buoyed by an unlikely last-gasp win but decimated by a fresh round of injuries as they seek to keep the rest of the competition at arm’s length.

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Collingwood will have a clearer idea today how long they will be without three key AFL players.

Captain Scott Pendlebury needed more surgery on his broken finger, while Darcy Moore and Travis Varcoe are out of hospital after they were hurt in Sunday’s win over West Coast, in which the Magpies kicked four goals in time-on to pinch an eight-point victory.

Pendlebury needed extra wiring following last week’s initial operation and there is now no chance that he will return for Sunday’s home game against ladder-leaders Adelaide.

After some hope at Collingwood that he might return for the Crows game, Pendlebury will probably miss an extra one or two more games.

But the star midfielder should still return by the end of the season.

Apart from hurting Collingwood’s bid for a strong end to another below-par season, a delay to his return also hits Pendlebury in the club best and fairest voting.

He has won Collingwood’s last four Copeland Trophies and has five in total, one less than coach Nathan Buckley’s record.

Moore and Varcoe were released from hospital yesterday.

Moore hurt his neck in the Eagles win, while Varcoe suffered concussion and a dislocated elbow.

Coach Nathan Buckley said after the match that it looks like Varcoe’s season is over.

Suspension and a hamstring injury has restricted Varcoe to only eight senior games this season.

Moore is also expected to be out of action for the Crows match.

It comes amid off-field turmoil at the Magpies, with chief executive Gary Pert yesterday announcing his resignation after a decade at the helm of the AFL’s biggest club.

Pert told president Eddie McGuire late last week that he was leaving, with the decision made public less than 24 hours after the stirring win over West Coast.

The one-time All-Australian-turned-administrator is leaving as the board conducts a wide-ranging club review.

“To implement the outcomes that will come from the blueprint review, Collingwood needs someone prepared to be committed all the way,” said Pert.

“The future of this football club is being re-imagined.

“Collingwood is preparing for significant change and I needed to decide whether I was prepared to commit long-term.”

The 52-year-old ruled out applying for the vacant role as the AFL’s general manager of football operations, saying his immediate priority was to spend more time with his family.

McGuire paid tribute to his longtime friend and loyal lieutenant.

“Gary has been very selfless in making the decision at a time that suits the football club,” said McGuire.

The pair held the club’s key off-field roles during the 2010 premiership and helped to mastermind the high-profile coaching transition from flag-winner Mick Malthouse to Nathan Buckley.

Businessman Peter Murphy, who is overseeing the blueprint review project, has been appointed interim CEO.

-AAP 

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