BEN REID appears to have consigned his soft-tissue problems to the past after a promising performance across half-back in Collingwood's intraclub match at Olympic Park Oval on Thursday night.
Magpie fans - the 5000 or so that turned up to the scratch match - would have also taken great heart out of Brent Macaffer's game through the midfield and up forward.
Reid was excellent in his customary sweeping role across half-back, with his ability to set up attacks particularly noticeable in the second half.
The 2011 All Australian defender's presence has been sorely missed having played just nine matches in the past two seasons due to a series of calf and quad complaints.
Senior assistant coach Robert Harvey said Reid had given himself every possible chance at an injury-free year, through his work over the summer months.
"It's early days but we treat him like everyone else. He gets through nearly every session (in the pre-season) and he got through the full three thirds no worries so we expect him to get through the full year," Harvey said.
"He's done all his pre-season as a defender and he played there tonight. He's a great kick and he reads the play so well. As a 26-year-old player we expect him to be a leader down there, alongside Nathan Brown as well.
"That composure and steadiness down back is going to be important for us this year."
Macaffer, who wore a white cap even as the sun faded into the Melbourne night, won plenty of possessions through the midfield and up forward.
The 27-year-old is looking to find some continuity in his footy after a second knee reconstruction wiped away almost his entire 2015 season.
The standout players on the ground were Jordan De Goey and Darcy Moore, who both excelled for the 'Black' team.
De Goey looks set to take another leap in 2016, with the second-year midfielder displaying his undoubted class and contested ball winning ability in bunches.
Moore, who now stands at 201cm, was lively across half-forward and bagged four majors.
Darcy Moore looks set for a big season. Picture: AFL Media
Rookie-listed tall forward Corey Gault also snagged five goals as he presses his claims to be elevated to the senior list before the season proper.
"He's a really good size (200cm) but he's one of the guys that have had a really wretched run with injury," Harvey said.
"You can see tonight that he moves well for a big guy, he's got good strength and he attacks the ball really well.
"He needs a clean run at it and he hasn't had that. He's got that challenge ahead of him to string some training and games together."
Brisbane Lions recruit James Aish flashed in and out of the game but he showed that he can run to the right spots.
There were some notable absentees with Jamie Elliott, Jack Crisp, Jeremy Howe, Tyson Goldsack, Adam Treloar and Marley Williams all sitting out.
Harvey said it was a pleasing hit-out ahead of its NAB Challenge opener against Geelong at Simonds Stadium next Friday night.
"It was a pretty open game and there was a bit to like and it was good to get through unscathed. We moved the ball pretty well ... against ourselves," Harvey said.
Brodie Grundy lays a strong tackle. Picture: AFL Media
Travis Cloke unloads a shot for goal. Picture: AFL Media
Skipper Scott Pendlebury looks to swoop on a loose ball. Picture: AFL Media