COLLINGWOOD vice-captain Taylor Adams remains the big selection watch at the Magpies ahead of Saturday’s Toyota AFL Grand Final against Brisbane at the MCG.
The 30-year-old missed the one-point preliminary final win over Greater Western Sydney last Friday night due to the low-grade hamstring strain he sustained at match simulation during semi-final weekend.
Adams was the first player on the track at the AIA Centre on Tuesday morning and completed just over 30 minutes of running and light skills before heading back inside.
The 2020 Copeland Trophy winner was scheduled to complete a light session on Tuesday with the main session considered D-Day for his availability.
Collingwood will put Adams through a gruelling fitness test on Thursday to mitigate the risk of picking a player who isn’t ready to play. If Adams plays on Saturday, it will be 15 days after the hamstring strain.
Darcy Moore missed the final six weeks of the 2018 season with a hamstring strain and narrowly ran out of time to prove his fitness in time to play in that year’s Grand Final. Geelong made the tough call to not pick Max Holmes in 2022 after the wingman injured his hamstring in the preliminary final before passing a fitness test later ahead of the Grand Final.
Craig McRae also faces the challenge of replacing key forward Dan McStay after the off-season recruit suffered a high-grade MCL strain against the Giants. The former Lion doesn’t require surgery and will be ready for day one of pre-season.
Billy Frampton was recruited last October to play as a key defender but the West Australian has spent as much time in the ruck and as a key forward during his first season at the club.
The former Adelaide and Port Adelaide utility trained alongside Brody Mihocek in match simulation at the end of Tuesday’s session and is being considered to return to the senior side for replace McStay.
Frampton managed only six games for the Crows last year and played a total of 24 across seven seasons in South Australia, but has proven to be a shrewd recruit in 2023, playing 15 times, most recently against Essendon in round 24 in the absence of Moore and Nathan Murphy.
He could be called upon to play a defensive forward role on Brisbane co-captain Harris Andrews, who produced one of the best performances of preliminary final weekend and will require attention on Saturday.
Jack Ginnivan started as the sub in both the qualifying final and preliminary final after regaining his spot in the 23 in round 22.
The small forward will come under consideration for a spot in the 22 this weekend if Collingwood opts to shift Mason Cox forward to cover the loss of McStay.
Ash Johnson would have come under consideration but the Halls Creek product sustained a season-ending hairline fracture in his arm against Williamstown in a VFL final earlier this month.
Collingwood may also look at moving veteran Jeremy Howe forward or using utility Will Hoskin-Elliott in attack to provide an aerial threat against the Lions.
John Noble was dropped ahead of the first final after playing 83 consecutive games but looms as another option for the Magpies to ponder, with Brisbane’s dangerous forward line combination of Charlie Cameron, Lincoln McCarthy, Zac Bailey, Cam Rayner and Dayne Zorko awaiting them this weekend.
Collingwood has lost its past six encounters with Brisbane dating back to 2019, but none of those games have been at the MCG, where the Lions have won only one of their past 15 games.