INJURY-prone Collingwood defender Ben Reid will be considered for selection in the opening round against the Sydney Swans at the SCG, despite not playing in the NAB Challenge.
The defender played an intra-club game last Friday after a calf niggle once again surfaced just before the NAB Challenge series kicked off.
Magpies coach Nathan Buckley said the match committee had not yet picked the team, but the 26-year-old was in the mix.
Match preview: Sydney Swans v Collingwood
"Reidy is a quality player and a player we want in our side whenever we get the opportunity," Buckley said.
Last season Collingwood played Reid in the VFL before bringing him into the senior side, however, he has had a more solid pre-season ahead of this year.
Buckley said Reid was one of 40 players being considered after a strong pre-season that has left the list relatively injury free leading into round one.
Only Travis Varcoe, who hurt his hamstring on Monday, Jeremy Howe, Jamie Elliott and Tyson Goldsack will not be available for selection, while talented youngster Matt Scharenberg is missing for the season after his second knee reconstruction.
"It is a good position to be in," Buckley said.
"We haven't been in this sort of shape for a long time, and…the competition for spots has come about from really strong pre-seasons, really strong growth in all of our individuals."
The Magpies will rely on team defence to attempt to curtail 'Buddy' Franklin, with Buckley describing the idea of one player being assigned the Sydney Swans champion for the game as "a bit archaic".
"The idea of one-on-one footy is a bit archaic. You don't see it as often. At stages the best defences have the capacity to have to get the job done one-on-one against any of the opposition forwards or mids if they slide down, or a ruckman," Buckley said.
"Nearly all of our defenders and, potentially, our wingers will find themselves in a contest with 'Buddy' Franklin at some stage in the game, but they will have five forwards there as well."
Of course, two years ago young Magpie defender Jack Frost made the competition sit up and take notice when he blanketed Franklin in round two, winning several one-on-one duels with the Swans champion.
It was just Frost's fourth game. The 23-year-old has only missed two games since that night.
Buckley said the SCG held no fears, although the Magpies lost to the Swans in a tight tussle at the venue last season, their first game at the SCG since 2000.
He said the Magpies were confident in the work they had done and the position they were in ahead of round one.
"We're optimistic about our prospects but we're really looking forward to proving and earning every one of the steps that we take," Buckley said.
Jack Frost has no fear of the Swans. Picture: AFL Media