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Ball feeling fine after VFL return

Luke Ball's 10 best MCG moments Ahead of a huge Anzac Day at the MCG, the star Pie names the best highlights at the ground
Luke Ball made his VFL return against Bendigo on Friday night  - ${keywords}
Luke Ball made his VFL return against Bendigo on Friday night
It was quite pleasing for his first time in a long time, he got amongst it and got plenty of the ball
Geoff Walsh
UPDATE: COLLINGWOOD expects to have Luke Ball available for selection next week after he made a successful return from his knee reconstruction in the club's VFL side in Bendigo on Friday night.

Playing in his first game for 54 weeks, Ball collected 25 touches and showed an ability to play inside and outside the contest in three quarters of game time in Collingwood's 116-point thrashing of the Bendigo Gold.

Speaking to on Saturday morning, Magpies football manager Geoff Walsh said Ball had pulled up well from the hit-out, but would not be drawn on a return date to the AFL side.

"He certainly got through the game," Walsh said.

"It was quite pleasing for his first time in a long time, he got amongst it and got plenty of the ball."

Ball said after the game that he felt unrestricted by the knee injury.

 "I am (feeling good), actually. After 12 months you don't know how it's going to feel," he told

"I got a hit-out and gave the knee a couple of tests and it held up. It's good."

But he said the challenge would be building on that base.

"I think the test is probably going to be second up, isn't it? In the first time you can always find something but I'll see how I pull up," he said.

Pies ruckman Darren Jolly also lined up in a star-studded Collingwood VFL side and impressed on his way back from a rib injury.

Jolly kicked three goals, took some strong marks up forward and showed his ability to direct his ruck taps to the midfielders.

Walsh said it was a decision for the match committee on when he would return, but he had shown some positive signs on Friday night.

Pies forwards Andrew Krakouer and Alan Didak also impressed against Bendigo, with Krakouer demonstrating clean disposal going inside forward 50 on the back of a 36-disposal game last week.

"He's steadily building up his fitness. He ran the game out well and he got plenty of the footy," Walsh said on Krakouer.

Didak's ball use was the standout, as were his multiple searching runs down the wing.

"It's good to see them (the club's senior players) back running around, getting some touch and getting some confidence," Walsh said.

Alan Toovey's torn ACL is likely to open up a spot on Collingwood's senior list, paving the way for one of the club's rookies to be elevated.

Mature rookie Kyle Martin has been dominant at VFL level for a number of weeks and looms as one of the most likely to earn a spot.

Martin kicked four goals against the Gold, while fellow rookie Adam Oxley has also been impressive off half-back for several weeks.

But Walsh would not speculate on who may replace Toovey, if indeed he is placed on to the long-term injury list.

Ben Johnson (calf) was again a late withdrawal before Friday night's game.
Collingwood has an eight-day break before it meets St Kilda at Etihad Stadium next Friday night.

Ben Guthrie is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter- @AFL_BenGuthrie
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs