After weeks of counting bodies in the treatment room, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley faces an embarrassment of riches for Thursday night’s match against Adelaide.
Nick Maxwell, Alan Toovey, Alex Fasolo and Clinton Young have all passed fitness tests and will push their selection claims.
The biggest problem now for Buckley is striking the right balance between keeping faith with a winning side and returning players back into the fold.
“We lost two thirds of our backline between the Essendon game and the Carlton game, and we’re going to get two thirds of it back so there’s going to be a bit of manipulating to do,” Buckley said.
“There’s far more players worthy of selection then there will be spots.”
“We’ve got a squad of 28-29 players who have legitimately got claims … we’ve just got to get the mix right.”
Buckley committed to picking his best line-up each week rather than rotating his squad as he seeks to continue the Magpies’ winning ways.
Their 5-2 record comes despite their surprisingly poor kicking and disposal efficiency – Collingwood are last in the league for both.
Still, they’ve managed to beat all-comers this year save powerhouses Fremantle and Geelong.
That suggests Collingwood have much improvement this season. And with a month ahead which includes Western Bulldogs, St Kilda and Melbourne, the Magpies could start to build towards September placed very nicely.
Collingwood’s first trip to play on Adelaide Oval is likely to coincide with Taylor Walker’s return to the Crows line-up.
“We’re looking forward to testing ourselves against a side that has played at their best in patches and were starting to find that momentum before the contest against Melbourne last week,” he said.
“Walker probably creates a little bit of a different dynamic … we won’t be under-estimating him.”
While he wouldn’t declare any of his returning players certain starters, he did say key position player Ben Reid’s calf injury left him a couple of weeks short from his first appearance of the season.