Jeremy Howe looks on during Collingwood's game against West Coast in R9, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

COLLINGWOOD is in the eight for the first time in 2024 – and just half a game outside the top four – but the Magpies' depth will be tested across the coming weeks after suffering three more injuries in Sunday's 66-point win over West Coast.

Veteran Jeremy Howe started the game as a forward but was substituted out of the game at quarter-time after straining his groin. Harvey Harrison came off the ground at the same time with an ankle injury and didn't return, while Jack Bytel suffered a concussion in the second half.

MAGPIES v EAGLES Full match coverage and stats

The Magpies were forced to make four changes ahead of the Mother's Day clash after Brody Mihocek (hamstring), Beau McCreery (concussion) and Jamie Elliott (back) all suffered injuries and Lachie Schultz copped a one-game suspension, completing changing the composition of the forward line.

Star midfielder Jordan De Goey (groin) and Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell (appendix/foot) both missed a second game on Sunday and are not guaranteed to return for next Saturday's match against Adelaide at the MCG.

Collingwood coach Craig McRae also ruled out McCreery for another game due to lingering concussion concerns and said Elliott is expected to miss more than just the one game.


"Jordy and Tom will be a race to the line. We are going to get an update on Jamie, but there is some stuff that is grumbling so might be more than one week," McRae said on Sunday night.

"Beau McCreery won't be available next week, he hasn't come up through the protocols with enough time so he will miss another week, but likely the week after.

"Howie has an adductor strain. It is not major, but likely to miss a game or two. He is unlikely to play in the coming weeks.


"Harvey rolled his ankle, just the standard sprain. We've got a six day break so he is unlikely to play, so we will see how that progresses.

"Jack got concussion. Young lad comes in, he's got a second opportunity and he looked really at home. So there is some comfort in knowing there is some trustworthy guys waiting to get their opportunity."

Collingwood's fringe players are getting opportunities and standing up. Lachie Sullivan impressed again after an eye-catching debut against Carlton, where he was activated in the second quarter and made an instant impact in front of nearly 90,000 people.

Joe Richards – another mature-age recruit – got his first shot at the age of 24 and looked comfortable in his first game, while former first-round picks Fin Macrae and Reef McInnes both kicked three goals each after being recalled from the VFL.


McRae was thrilled with the ability of the inexperienced players to step in and step up to the level.

"We came here today with the intention to see a few different Collingwood players that the fans hadn't seen and hadn't been exposed to the level," McRae said.

"I said before the game that we would still have 23 jumpers out there and look really connected, but really pleased for that part, young guys getting opportunities that they've been craving and then they jump at it.

"Reef and Fin kicking three goals each, Joey Richards looks more than capable of playing at the level. We are really pleased. All you ask is for guys to come in and do your job. All those guys came in and impacted the game, which was really pleasing."


This time two years ago, Richards was playing for Wangaratta in the Ovens and Murray League under 2010 Collingwood premiership player Ben Reid. The Magpies selected him with pick No.48 in the 2022 AFL Draft and finally got to see him at the highest level on Sunday.

"I remember Dekka telling me about him. I've got this kid from [Wangaratta] and I think half of [Wangaratta] was here today watching him," McRae said.

"He has been a guy that you could tell was coming. But it was early days and you thought: Maybe? But this year you could tell he looked too good for VFL and looked ready for AFL. We've got a pretty good array of small forwards. It is hard to go past those guys, now we've got one more."


West Coast coach Adam Simpson conceded his players were overwhelmed by Collingwood's pressure and centre-bounce dominance early, but was pleased with their fight after halftime.

"We're disappointed but we don't think we took a step back in the sense that everything that we've done in the last five weeks is worth nothing," Simpson said.

"It's just, we played a really good side and we got touched up in the first half.

"They committed as much as they could (in the second half) and we saw a little bit of growth, but I think Collingwood probably knew the game was won and took their foot off the pedal a little bit."

- with AAP