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"I think we're coming back to our best": Hill firm on premiers' climb ahead of Blues blockbuster for Peter Mac Cup

Jarred Cross -

Collingwood forward Bobby Hill says Friday night's blockbuster with traditional rivals Carlton will be an "unbelievable" affair for reasons even outside the obvious.

More than 86,000 fans packed the stands the last time the two sides met mid-way through the Blues' run of nine wins from their last 10 home-and-away games in 2023.

Carlton fell one short of meeting Collingwood in the grand final through a manic finals series.

The late July matchup was also the 28th Peter Mac Cup, an annual fixture helping to raise funds for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Naarm.

Hill, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer in May 2022, joined Carlton defender Sam Docherty, who has twice battled the same diagnosis through his career, at the charity game's launch at the centre on Monday morning.

"It'll be a great cause and great game this week, especially with two big clubs," Hill said, via AAP.

"It'll be fun and unbelievable to be a part of."

Hill returned for his first senior game since stepping away to undergo surgery and treatment while at GWS at his new club in round one of 2023.

He completed a fairytale return with both premiership medal and the Norm Smith as best on ground in the Magpies' premiership triumph over Brisbane in last year's decider.

After getting a close look at teammate Jamie Elliot's all-time hanger in last Thursday's dramatic ANZAC Day draw with Essendon, Hill had a cheeky example when asked if he'd seen a better mark in his time.

"Probably mine in the grand final," he said.

Hill was limited to nine disposals and 0.3 in front of goals on ANZAC Day, despite glimpses of his best on the big stage with 93,000 in the stands.

The 24-year-old has kicked just one goal in his previous three outings after his best return for the year with three majors against the Lions in round four - Collingwood's first win for the season after a shock 0-3 start to their premiership defence.

"I didn't really look too much into it, it's more just go ahead, play footy and have fun," Hill said when asked about the potential of similar attention to Essendon defender Andrew McGrath's stifling match up on him last week.

Collingwood's season had gotten back on track after three straight wins to go 3-3 before splitting the points with the Bombers.

They survived a scare from the struggling Hawks in round four and have trailed at quarter time in four outings to start the year, including allowing six opening term goals against them before a fightback against Port and conceding four in the opening minutes on ANZAC Day.

Hill said improving their starts is likely to be at focus in training this week, but isn't panicking about where their season lies.

"We're the hunted now and we obviously didn't have a great start," he said.

"But I think the way we've handled it and gone forward and stuff like that, I think we're coming back to our best."


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