Jordan de Goey
Jordan De Goey is just one of a quartet of stars ready to return to Collingwood's starting line-up. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS
  • Australian rules football

Magpies set to take flight with flag stars returning

Shayne Hope June 27, 2024

Collingwood are gearing up to take their AFL premiership defence to the next level as Jordan De Goey headlines a quartet of returning flag stars for the high-stakes clash with Gold Coast.

Brody Mihocek (hamstring), Scott Pendlebury (bicep), Oleg Markov (back) and explosive midfielder De Goey (groin) are all available to take on the Suns at People First Stadium on Saturday.

But Lachie Schultz will sit out after battling gastro this week and Isaac Quaynor is also in doubt because of illness.

After a 0-3 start, the Magpies (8-4-2) have surged into the top four for the first time this year and are well placed to launch another premiership push despite a torrid run with injuries before their mid-season bye.

In further personnel boosts, Jamie Elliott (vascular) and Dan McStay (knee) have taken significant steps towards comebacks, with Mason Cox (concussion/knee) and Tom Mitchell (foot) both about a month away.

“You get to this time of the year and everyone’s sort of running into the ground, but we’re hoping we get some of these guys back and they’ll be running on top of the ground,” McRae said on Thursday.

“We’ve been a work in progress in terms of trying to do what we can with the players we’ve got available.

“A lot of guys have stepped up and got opportunities.

“It’s just such an even competition and the margins are so small that you’d like to think that some team that gets a run-on here can really separate from the pack.”

McRae also warned his side big names alone won’t get the job done.

“You get these ‘magnets’ back to play with … but magnets don’t win games,” he said.

“Effort does and roles do, and we’ve had some players that have done a great job at filling voids and also doing more than that.

“Whether it’s Lachie (Sullivan) or Fin Macrae or Joey Richards, these guys have come in and done great jobs for us.”

Key forward McStay tore an anterior cruciate ligament on December 1 but trained fully on Thursday and is nearing a return, possibly at VFL level next month.

“Clearly, by watching him train, it’s getting closer,” McRae said.

“He’s running on top of the ground, he’s marking the ball well and it’s all competitive work, so he’s not too far away.

“At his best, Dan’s an integral part of our forward line.

“(Assistant coach) Scott Selwood and the forwards have been incredible really, finding avenues to score through unconventional ways.

“To have a marking presence and a contest there – we just haven’t really had it – so someone like Dan is really exciting.

“Having him available at some stage, I think our team will be better for it.”

McRae confirmed Collingwood midfielder Josh Carmichael is set to meet with the AFL’s concussion panel in the coming weeks to determine his playing future.

The 24-year-old has been out of action since May after sustaining his most recent concussion during a VFL game.

Magpies premiership defender Nathan Murphy was forced to retire in April after meeting with the AFL concussion panel.

Melbourne’s Angus Brayshaw and Western Bulldogs draftee Aiden O’Driscoll called time on their careers under similar circumstances.