COLLINGWOOD's chances of beating the Sydney Swans in round one have received an early blow, with the club confirming goalsneak Jamie Elliott will miss the season-opener because of a bad back.
The Magpies decided to remove him from training for three weeks in order to give his back a chance to settle.
Magpies football manager Neil Balme told collingwoodfc.com.au he was confident Elliott could have a strong season despite his interrupted preparation.
"We have decided we are going to take him out of the program for three or four weeks and not do the genuine footy stuff and let him settle," Balme said.
"We're pretty confident he'll be right to go again at that stage."
The Magpies will also be without high-flying recruit Jeremy Howe for round one after he broke his finger a fortnight ago, while the club is being cautious with Adam Treloar's program to ensure he recovers from osteitis pubis.
Tyson Goldsack has also been battling knee tendinitis.
Elliott, 23, has kicked at least 30 goals in each of the past three seasons.
The Swans host the Pies at ANZ Stadium on March 26.