Scott Pendlebury is injured during Collingwood's clash against Hawthorn in round four, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

COLLINGWOOD veteran Scott Pendlebury has passed a fitness test on Thursday morning, putting his hand up to face Port Adelaide at the MCG on Saturday. 

The 36-year-old was substituted out of the Gather Round win over Hawthorn after sustaining fractured ribs in the five-point victory at the Adelaide Oval. 

Pendlebury trained fully on Tuesday and Thursday and appears set to benefit from the Magpies having the bye last weekend. 

"'Pendles' got through training. We will assess how he pulls up," Collingwood coach Craig McRae said. 

"He is a marvel with his ability to recover and get ready to play. It might be hard to leave him out."

After starting its premiership defence 0-3, Collingwood reached the bye 2-3 after escaping a second-half fightback from the Hawks to secure the points for the second straight week. 


McRae said the Magpies used the 13-day break between fixtures to physically recuperate from a tough run that included short breaks and three interstate games, as well as resetting strategically after a slow start to 2024.

"You don't get too many opportunities to take a breath, but we probably needed it more than we realised. We had a really heavy start to the season with six-day breaks and travel," McRae said.

"We did a good recap of the first five weeks – where we are at, what we are doing well, what we need to get busy with. It was a good chance to reset ourselves and look at how we're playing."

It has been an emotional week inside the AIA Centre after premiership defender Nathan Murphy announced he was medically retired on Tuesday, following a meeting with the AFL's concussion panel on Saturday. 


McRae paid tribute to Murphy's contribution to the club and said the Magpies will ensure there is a role for him if he wants to remain involved at Collingwood. 

"This is something that has been stewing in the background for a while, this wasn't a sudden moment and shock from the decision, but any time one of your valued players and cultural guys decides to walk away from the game, it is difficult," he said.

"You want to love and support the player and his family. He is not lost to us as a club. We want to celebrate our players and how they exit our club. We want to make sure he stays with us. We celebrate 'Murph' for the contribution he has made to the club."

Collingwood has spent the past few months preparing for this situation, after Murphy was substituted out of last year's Grand Final win over Brisbane due to his 10th concussion.

The Magpies added tall defender Josh Eyre – who is recovering from a torn hamstring tendon – to their rookie list during the pre-season supplemental selection period and have exposed Charlie Dean to senior football early this year, while Billy Frampton has produced his best three-game run at AFL level across the past month. 

Billy Frampton celebrates Collingwood's win over Brisbane in round three, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Collingwood will have a spot to use in next month's Mid-Season Rookie Draft if it wants to add more key defensive coverage. 

Key forward Dan McStay is making significant progress in his bid to make a late-season return after undergoing a knee reconstruction in early December. 

The 28-year-old is eyeing a return by August and is set to build into contact training in June after spending some time away from the club to reset following a strong four-month block of rehabilitation. 

"Dan is flying," he said. "He is going really well, ticking a lot of boxes. He's got a few more to tick off but he looks fit and strong. He might have some time away because he has been going for four months now. We might give him a couple of weeks to freshen up and then see what we get when he gets back."

Collingwood has won the past three encounters with Port Adelaide, including the round two game last year at the MCG, where they won by 71 points. 

But led by Brownlow Medal contenders Connor Rozee and Zak Butters, plus rising star Jason Horne-Francis, the Power sit in third spot on the ladder with four wins from five starts.