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Coach tires of Dane Swan discussion
By Greg Buckle
18:35 AEST Wed Jan 16 2013

Collingwood AFL captain Nick Maxwell is happy to speak about Dane Swan's tremendous commitment to training, but coach Nathan Buckley is less enthusiastic about the topic.

Swan, the 2011 Brownlow Medallist who was handed a two-match ban by the club last August for breaking a booze ban, has been a star performer during pre-season.

Maxwell says he's never seen the 28-year-old Swan in better shape.

"He's thereabouts. His skinfolds are hitting the mark and his training intensity has been fantastic," Buckley told reporters on Wednesday.

Asked if Swan's attitude to training had improved, Buckley said it had stayed the same.

"He sees the game in his own manner," Buckley said.

"We've got quite a few boys who know when to switch on and switch off."

Buckley grew frustrated with persistent questioning about Swan, who withdrew from the club's leadership group for 2012 and said he didn't intend to play beyond the 2014 season.

Swan said in a newspaper interview in 2012 that playing footy at the top level "takes away so much of your social life".

"Yeah there has been a lot of commentary on it," Buckley said.

"Everyone's entitled to have an opinion and everyone seems to have an opinion about him and that's fair enough.

"I've got one and I've given it, plenty of times."

Maxwell says Swann and Harry O'Brien have been leading the way during a gruelling summer of pre-season training.

"He just looks in such good shape and so fit," Maxwell said this week on SEN Radio.

"I haven't seen him like this in the 11 years I've been playing here with him. It just shows that he is working at all those things.

"He knows he's not going to be a Luke Ball. He's not going to be someone who's football, football, football the whole time.

"We know the way that Dane goes about it and we don't (get) dictated to by what people in the outside world think."

Star midfielder Dale Thomas completed stationary skills work at training on Wednesday after having removed his moon boot following post-season ankle surgery.

Buckley says he hopes to have Thomas ready for the club's opening game on March 31 against North Melbourne.

The Magpies' coach expects Maxwell to be reappointed in about a fortnight as captain, although Buckley feels Ball and Scott Pendlebury are also strong contenders.

Buckley says defender Marley Williams will work with the Salvation Army's soup van for 10 weeks as part of his punishment for his role in a late-night scuffle in Western Australia.

The incident took place in Williams' home town of Albany on December 27 and the 19-year-old has been charged with assault. He's due to appear at a committal hearing in Albany later this month.

"They spend time with the homeless throughout Melbourne city," Buckley said.