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Collingwood hit by fresh injury blow amid wild scenes in clash with Richmond

The defending premiers are dealing with a growing injury list in the AFL pre-season.

Pictured right is injured Collingwood star Nathan Kreuger.
Collingwood star Nathan Kreuger's injury came hours before the club's fiery end to their Community Series win over Richmond. Pic: Getty/X

Collingwood's injury predicament has worsened ahead of the new AFL season, with Nathan Kreuger going down with a suspected hamstring strain during a VFL scratch match against Richmond at Punt Road Oval on Tuesday afternoon. The incident happened hours before the Pies claimed a 30-point win over the Tigers in an AFL community series match that ended in wild scenes at Princes Park.

Footage emerged of Kreuger pulling up lame during the VFL scratch match earlier in the day, with the big man seen grabbing at the back of his left hamstring, before one of the team physios came over to check on him. Kreuger was subsequently sent for scans to ascertain the extent of the injury, with Magpies assistant coach Justin Leppistch confirming that it was a hamstring complaint.

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“Yeah, it seems that way,” Leppitsch told SEN’s Sportsday. “I just got word when I got into the changerooms that he’s on the way to get the MRI... I’m not sure the extent of it, but it seems the case, yeah.” It's the latest cruel blow for Kreuger since he joined Collingwood from Geelong after the 2021 season.

Kreuger's debut season with the Pies in 2022 was punctuated by a number of injury concerns with his left shoulder. The 24-year-old underwent shoulder surgery in 2023 after only managing seven games the previous year - ruling him out of the entirety of last year's premiership campaign with the Magpies. Kreuger's involvement was subsequently limited to the VFL.

Collingwood injury list continues to grow

The 24-year-old would have been hoping for better luck in 2024, but joins a growing injury list at Collingwood that also includes Daniel McStay, Scott Pendlebury and Jeremy Howe. McStay has been recovering from knee reconstruction having missed the Magpies' grand-final win over Brisbane because of a knee injury, then rupturing an ACL in November during pre-season training. Knee reconstructions can often take 12 months to recover from but McStay is back up and running and says his progress has been solid. Even still, his hopes of featuring in the AFL for the Pies in 2024 appear slim.

"It's been a little bit of an up-and-down battle, the last three months," McStay said this week. "We're not really working towards time frames at the moment. We're ticking off each part as it comes.

"Speaking with (the Collingwood) staff, they seem really confident I will play some footy this year. Obviously you need a lot of luck on your side and you can't have any setbacks. But the way I've been tracking and the work I've been putting in, it's given me a fair bit of hope."

Seen here, Collingwood's Daniel McStay.
Collingwood's Daniel McStay is hoping to return to footy in 2024 after undergoing a knee reconstruction. Pic: Getty

Collingwood stars battling to be fit for round 1

Pendlebury suffered a knock to his knee during a recent training session but is expected to be available for his side's AFL season opener against GWS on March 9, albeit with no pre-season games under his belt. Howe is in the same boat but also looks set to be fit in time for the start of the season after suffering a corked calf at training.

Collingwood premiership heroes Jordan De Goey, Nick Daicos and Josh Daicos showed no signs of off-season rust in their 10.16 (76) to 5.16 (46) community series win over Richmond on Monday night. The Daicos brothers and De Goey were impressive but the performance of Patrick Lipinski (23 possessions, two goals) would have been particularly encouraging for Magpies coach, Craig McRae.

Lipinski just hung on to his spot for the Magpies' grand-final win against the Brisbane Lions, starting as the sub in the decider after an up-and-down season. He underwent a shoulder reconstruction after the 2022 season and looked short of his best in 2023 but proved on Monday night that he once again shapes as a key cog of Collingwood's midfield.

There were a few encouraging signs for Richmond under new coach Adem Yze, whose Tigers side travels to the Gold Coast for their opening-round game on March 9. While Noah Balta and new recruit Jacob Koschitzke failed to really click in attack during limited chances against Collingwood, the Tigers will only improve when Tom Lynch returns. The two-time premiership star is expected to be back for Richmond's second match of the season against Carlton, with Yze not too fazed by Monday night's match against Collingwood.

"(Collingwood are) a good side and they showed the reasons why," the Richmond coach said. "We got guys through the game that we needed to get some game time in and some young boys showed some really nice signs." Tigers midfielder Jack Graham will be sweating on scan results after he came from the field with pain in his quad in the dying moments.

with AAP

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