MIDFIELD depth will see Collingwood's Tom Langdon return to a familiar role in defence in 2016.
After brief and successful stints on the wing in 2015, the 21-year-old has been preparing to be part of a back six that hopes to be rejuvenated by the return of a fit Ben Reid.
Back in full training after pre-Christmas surgery repaired a meniscus problem on his right knee, Langdon told AFL.com.au he was happy to play across half-back this season.
"I love it down there. At the moment our back six is going really well, [and] the team balance is better if I go in the backline because we have so much midfield depth," Langdon said.
Langdon has been undergoing a gradual build-up since Christmas but is on track to be available for the NAB Challenge.
He hopes to play more than half of next Thursday night's intra-club match at the Westpac Centre and be available for NAB Challenge games.
Collingwood's first NAB Challenge game is on February 27 against Geelong at Simonds Stadium.
Langdon said ball movement had been a focus in the pre-season with the Magpies being open about their need to improve their kicking in 2016.
However the defender said it was not so much kicking the team needed to improve as positioning, with the Magpies working to ensure the receiver was in the right spot to take a kick.
"If you look at the best sides, they are not hitting hard kicks," Langdon said.
"They obviously are elite kicks but the ability for them to create space and to be by themselves and give the kicker an option has been one of their big strengths."
Langdon said the return of Reid to defence would be a bonus because he contained skills the back six lacked at times in 2015.
"He just brings something that we have not really had in the last few years, reading the play and cutting off those balls as a tall back," Langdon said.
"It really helps our offence [and] it obviously helps our defence as well that he can take those intercept marks. He is obviously a very good player."
Langdon is developing into a very good player, too, showing his ability to intercept attacks in 41 games over two seasons.
With the frustration of short stint in rehab behind him he is set to lock down a position in defence for the Magpies.