Jeremy Howe in action during a match simulation session at Collingwood on February 14, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

PREMIERSHIP defender Jeremy Howe has been ruled out of Collingwood's Opening Round clash against Greater Western Sydney, while champion midfielder Scott Pendlebury will need to pass a fitness test on Thursday. 

Howe missed last Tuesday night's practice match against Richmond due to a corked calf and didn't complete training at the AIA Centre on Tuesday. 

The 33-year-old is expected to only miss the club's season-opener and be available to face Sydney at the MCG next Friday night. 

Pendlebury, 36, also missed the scratch match at Ikon Park and will need to prove his fitness at main training before being given the green light to fly north. 

The six-time All-Australian hasn't missed the first game of the season since making his debut in 2006 and is expected to be available after copping a knock to the back of his leg in training. 

Scott Pendlebury looks on from the bench during a Collingwood training session at AIA Centre on February 14, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Nathan Kreuger will be sidelined until at least round five after suffering a hamstring injury in a VFL practice match last week. 

>> Win $25,000 in the official AFL Tipping comp! Sign up NOW

The luckless key forward-ruckman was building a case for a senior return when he sustained a semimembranosus injury. 

Collingwood will start its premiership defence without key defender Nathan Murphy, while Dan McStay is set to miss most of 2024 after rupturing his ACL in December.