The battle to replace Dayne Beams in Collingwood's midfield for Queen's Birthday appears to be a race in three between Brayden Sier, Josh Daicos and Rupert Wills.
The trio have all been in good form in the VFL recently and are right in the mix return with Beams requiring major hip surgery which is likely to sideline him for the rest of 2019.
Wills was dropped after the Magpies' win against Sydney in round 10 while Sier and Daicos haven't been seen at senior level since last year.
"Clearly we'll be looking for some midfield depth to replace Beamsy's role so we can maintain the balance of the rest of the side," Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said on Thursday.
Buckley said the decision to book Beams in for surgery was made because his hip injury had prevented him from playing to his full potential.
"I think it was just grinding away for him and really there wasn't much light at end of tunnel without the procedure," he said.
"He's spoken about the pressure to perform and the inability of his body to do what was needed so we get this done and take stock and look forward to getting Beamsy back when he's right to go.
"Beamsy by his own admission understands there was always going to be a settling-in period. We'll get to that, unfortunately it won't be in the next 12 to 16 weeks."
Collingwood's injury concerns aren't quite as alarming as what they were in 2018, but by almost winning the flag last year in spite of that, Buckley said his team knew that if each player played their role with intensity they'd be able to cope with the absence of numerous key players.
"We think we've got a strong philosophy of role play and blokes coming in and playing their role," he said.
"At various times the synergy and the connection of the team is better or worse and that's probably what form is and if we're in good form then the rising tide carries all boats – we go a bit better."
In better news on the injury front, ruckman Brodie Grundy is all but confirmed to face Melbourne on Monday after tweaking his ankle against Fremantle last week, while Buckley didn't discount the possibility of bringing forward Mason Cox straight into the senior side after missing six weeks with an ankle injury.
"He's trained well again [but] he trained well last week and the medicos had him off the table so I'm not going to count my chickens," Buckley said of Cox.
Buckley believed losing to Fremantle by such a narrow margin helped "sharpen up" hisRead More – Source