Magnets flipped as more injuries hit Magpies

AFL Rd 8 -  Carlton v Collingwood
Collingwood coach Craig McRae is buoyant despite an injury crisis. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Collingwood coach Craig McRae says superstar Jordan De Goey’s groin injury is heading into “scary” territory and will need careful management as Jamie Elliott joined the club’s injury list.

Veteran Jeremy Howe will be thrown forward against West Coast on Sunday after Elliott succumbed to back soreness a the defending premiers go in without Brody Mihocek, Beau McCreery, Lachie Schultz, De Goey and Tom Mitchell.

De Goey misses for a second straight week and while McRae said the club had learned more about his injury, and dismissed the idea of osteitis pubis, said the 28-year-old wasn’t in the clear.

“That’s a scary word, OP, but it’s leading towards something if we don’t manage it, it could get as bad as that,” McRae said.

“It’s not that now, but (we) grab things certainly here and deload a little bit and then see where we go, and early signs are that’s progressed towards that.”

Collingwood Magpies Training Session
Jordan De Goey watched training on Friday. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

In throwing the magnets around, McRae conceded “we don’t have a cast of thousands” to play forward with Dan McStay still overcoming his ACL injury.

Six of Collingwood’s nine leading goalkickers from last season’s premiership campaign are unavailable.

But amid the injury chaos, McRae was happy that with so many plaguers out those who had been “craving opportunity” would get it against the Eagles, with Fin Macrae among the inclusions as well as Reef McInnes.

Collingwood will also hand a debut to mature-aged recruit Joe Richards, 24, who was drafted from Victorian country football in 2022 where he was a star with the Wangaratta Magpies.

“We tried to give Jamie every chance to play, hence why we named him in the squad, but he woke up this morning and he still has a sore back,” McRae said on Friday morning.

“It didn’t settle enough to get him out there so will see how it goes.

“Jeremy (Howe) will play forward. We don’t have a cast of thousands lining up to play as key forwards for us. His experience is what we want to lean into.

“He has a lot of class as a forward, he has history there, so we are hopeful he can play a role for us there.

“It’ll be a different forward-line mix – you take out three or four of your starting forward line from last week, it’s a different mix, but we’ll move the ball the same. It’s just a matter of playing a role within that.”

Howe is no stranger to the forward line, having booted 98 goals across his 240 games but has become a key man down back in is nine seasons at the Magpies.

McRae said he had rammed home the message to the likes of 22-year-old Macrae, who will start the game having being subbed in or out of rounds one, two and three to start 2024, that this was their chance to make an impression.

“Fin will play; I told Fin yesterday; he will get a good opportunity to play a full game and show what he is capable of,” McRae said.

“I think one of the exciting things about Sunday is we’re going to play some players that have been craving opportunity. Our team has been pretty rock solid in terms of injuries early in the year. Guys have been playing good footy and not getting a chance.

“We are not bringing in 18-year-old guys just out of school. We are bringing in guys that have had to bide their time and they will get opportunities this weekend.”

Collingwood are ninth on the AFL ladder, with four wins, including last week’s thrilling six-point win over Carlton.