Raw Pie up for huge task on star Eagle

Brody Mihocek has had a big rookie year for the Pies and it's set to get bigger in the grand final.
Brody Mihocek has had a big rookie year for the Pies and it's set to get bigger in the grand final.

Collingwood's Brody Mihocek is set for a pivotal role in the AFL grand final, with the mature-aged rookie forward set to perform a defensive job on West Coast danger man Jeremy McGovern.

It's a huge task for the 25-year-old in just his 16th AFL game and a measure of the respect he has from coach Nathan Buckley.

McGovern, who signed a mega-deal this year that made him the highest-paid Eagles player ever, looms as a key figure for his side with his ability to intercept mark and set up counter-attacks.

"The last few times I've been on him and learnt different things each time," Mihocek said.

"It's a tricky one because you want to do what you're told and then you've got to worry about him as well.

"We try to work to our strengths rather than their's, so if you can get on top early they start worrying about you.

"It's about them having to defend rather than us forwards trying to defend them."

Mihocek has spent most of his career as a defender but took to the new forward role so well at VFL level that he broke through for his AFL debut against Fremantle in round 11.

He's played every game since, kicking 28 goals and impressing with his high work rate and combative approach.

An AFL grand final win would be the ultimate reward for Mihocek, who was frustratingly passed over at multiple drafts.

"In my draft year there were a fair few people who I look at (who got drafted) and think 'Why not me?'" he said.

"Even last year I had a good mate get picked up and I was still wondering 'Why not me?'

"I watched the draft every year thinking that I was better than that and I just needed to be picked to prove it and it's happened.

"I think it's made me a better person and a better player.

"The journey to now has been a tough one with some ups and downs, but it's all worth it in the end."

Australian Associated Press