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Pies to load forward line with speed, skill and power

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COLLINGWOOD'S exciting forward trio Jordan De Goey, Jamie Elliott and Jaidyn Stephenson appear certain starters in the season opener against Geelong at the MCG on Friday night.

Magpie coach Nathan Buckley declared De Goey was "fit to go" after overcoming a mid-foot sprain, while Stephenson showed he was over his groin soreness by showcasing his renowned speed at training on Wednesday. 

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Elliott, who has missed two of the past three seasons through injury, is poised to play his first game in 19 months, ensuring headaches for the Cats, who will be without small defenders Zach Tuohy and Jed Bews.

In further good news for the Woods, defender Tom Langdon has recovered from a bout of delayed concussion sustained during the Pies' final JLT Community Series game.

Meanwhile, experienced recruits in gun midfielder Dayne Beams, who has returned to Collingwood after four years with Brisbane, and ex-Bulldogs big man Jordan Roughead will play their first games for the club.

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Elliott and fellow 2018 hamstring victim Darcy Moore have been standout performers this pre-season and loom as key inclusions into a line-up that came within a straight kick of winning last year's premiership. Their coach was excited natually by their progress.

"(Elliott) has missed a bit of footy over the last couple of years and he can't go back and get that back now," he said.

"He's a little bit older, a little bit wiser, a little bit more mature and understanding and appreciative of the opportunities that come along, so I think he's well placed mentally and emotionally to handle this next phase of his footy career, and physically he's in great shape," Buckley said.

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Hamstring issues restricted key defender Moore to just seven games last year, the last of them in round 20.

"He clearly would have been frustrated with the way last year went for him and the disappointment of not being able to put his hand up, being couple of weeks shy (of availability) at the pointy end," Buckley said. 

"His attitude's been first-class. He's really committed to improving himself as a footballer, getting himself as fit as he possibly can be and ready to take that next step into the early rounds, which we know are some of the most intense that you'll face." 

De Goey also has the ability to be a midfield wrecking ball but his lack of match fitness will ensure he plays predominantly in attack in the early rounds.

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"One thing that counts in his favour is that he plays really well fresh," Buckley said.

The chemistry between De Goey and Elliott will be critical given both are dangerous deep-forward options who have played so little together, but they gave a glimpse of their potential during full-ground match simulation in greasy, overcast conditions when Elliott hit a leading De Goey, who then nailed the angled set shot from the pocket.

During a willing session, skipper Scott Pendlebury copped the Sherrin flush in the face while big forward Mason Cox also received an accidental hit to the face. Both played on and appeared fine afterwards.

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Buckley said the Pies were still deciding whether assign Levi Greenwood a tagging role on Cats skipper Joel Selwood, against whom he boasts an impressive record.

From last year's Grand Final team, the Woods are missing only midfielders Taylor Adams (finger) and Brayden Sier, and forward Will Hoskin-Elliott (knee).

Hoskin-Elliott completed some running away from the main group on Wednesday and also had a kick with Ben Reid, whose quad problem isn't as severe as initially feared.

Buckley revealed Sier had failed to finish the scratch match against Melbourne due to a problem he described as "a bit neural, calf and hammy – it wasn't an injury as such".

Sier then missed the opening JLT Community Series game against Fremantle in Perth, which "pushed him down the rung a bit" for an inside midfielder role.

"He's training well enough and he's got to put some form together to really stake his claim," Buckley said.

Another talented young Pie in second-year defender Nathan Murphy will be sidelined for two to three weeks with a left calf injury.

Veterans Lynden Dunn and Daniel Wells trained to full capacity and are expected to be available in the next fortnight.