COLLINGWOOD pair Lachlan Keeffe and Josh Thomas both struggled to establish a permanent spot in the senior line-up after being recruited from Queensland towards the end of last decade.

However 2015 shaped as a season of opportunity with Thomas a chance to break in to the midfield as an in-and-under player to replace the retiring Luke Ball, departing Dayne Beams and injured Levi Greenwood.

After battling in defence in 2014, the Magpies were grooming Keeffe to play forward and pinch-hit in the ruck as it looked to consolidate Ben Reid's position in defence.

The latest development will be disappointing to the Magpies' hierarchy and a savage blow to their brand, but from a performance point of view the duo was on the fringes of senior selection.

Provisionally suspended it remains to be seen whether the pair’s B-sample will test positive and what the outcome of a Tribunal hearing would be if they did eventually receive an infraction notice.

Keeffe arrived at Collingwood in 2009 after a junior background in soccer and immediately impressed with his work-rate and competitiveness. He made his debut in 2011 and did not look out of place despite being relatively new to the game.

After establishing himself as a permanent member of the Magpies' backline in 2012, Keeffe's knee buckled in round nine against Adelaide.

The subsequent knee reconstruction forced him out of the game until midway of 2013 and he had not performed at his best since. He had played 40 games and was once a member of the Magpies’ leadership group.

Thomas was a specialist stoppage player who impressed enough for the Magpies to persist with him even after injury struck.

He overcome a horrific series of leg injuries after being drafted in 2009 to finally make his debut as a late inclusion in round one, 2013.

It was a major achievement as he was in a moon boot for close to nine months from midway through 2011 and underwent surgery for stress related injuries to give himself a chance to play senior football.

Since making his debut Thomas has been handy, playing 32 games. He had a setback on the eve of this pre-season when he was mugged in New York and suffered a hand injury.