Sun plans to bring Magpie back to earth
GOLD Coast defender Jack Leslie is bracing for the biggest game of the year and possibly his career so far.
Not only is a Collingwood visit to Metricon Stadium traditionally considered the biggest match of the year for the Suns, Leslie may also find himself on the largest opponent he has ever faced in American Mason Cox.
The Pies were rocked on Monday by news midfielder Adam Treloar may require season ending surgery to his hamstring.
But the Suns have injury concerns of their own that could leave them undersized in defence.
Makeshift defender Sam Day on Monday still had his arm in a sling and remains only a slim chance of playing against the Pies.
Rory Thompson who, at 200cm, is the tallest Suns defender, faces a fitness test at training on Wednesday night.
Should neither be cleared, 197cm Leslie could get the job on Magpies forward Mason Cox, who will enjoy a 14cm height advantage.
Cox's contested marking has improved dramatically this season and he is causing nightmares for defences with his ability to leap at the footy and take it at the highest possible point.
Leslie has already started to prepare for the giant American and has worked out restricting his run at the footy is the best way to attempt to contain him.
"He is pretty big, I think Rory still has a test so we're not sure if he's in or out this week yet,'' Leslie said.
"But yeah I could be the only key defender, so I'd have to play on Cox.
"When you have guys that are a bit taller than you, you have to figure out their weakness.
"So I would probably go at his body, cut off his run rather than trying to jump with him because he has a fair reach on him so I probably couldn't get him that way.''
Leslie said Collingwood had been the major surprise packet this season and put it down to coach Nathan Buckley getting the three areas of the ground firing.
He said the midfield had enjoyed a strong reputation for a couple of years now and believed it was the forward line where the major improvement has come from.
"They are going really well, their midfield is good and they defend well but also their forward line, they are all kicking goals, they are a pretty high scoring team at the moment,'' he said.
"They are really good, you just have to be on them for the whole game or else they will damage you.''