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Runner in, run-with player out in likely Pies change

Pick a Winner: Coll v WB Duck and Browny preview the Magpies and Bulldogs

COLLINGWOOD veteran Travis Varcoe is poised to return for the crucial clash with the Western Bulldogs at the MCG on Friday night.

AFL.com.au understands the flexible Varcoe will be recalled to the Magpie line-up at the expense of another experienced runner in tagger Levi Greenwood.

Varcoe, who kicked the first goal of last year's Grand Final, was dropped for the rematch against West Coast last Saturday night after making a slow start to the season.

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In the opening two rounds the speedy flanker provided much of his usual energy and hard-hitting defensive skills but averaged just seven possessions and went scoreless.

He became vulnerable at the selection table when star midfielder Taylor Adams was passed fit to take on the Eagles after recovering from a finger injury.

The 207-gamer will be fresh to take on the Dogs given he was the carryover emergency for the Eagles game, which excluded him from taking part in the Pies' VFL season-opener earlier that afternoon.

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Varcoe celebrated his 31st birthday on Wednesday and a senior recall would be a welcome gift for a terrific team man in the twilight of a career that has featured four Grand Final appearances for two premierships (both at Geelong).

Now Greenwood, another selfless Pie, can consider himself a little unlucky.

The 30-year-old was overlooked for the season-opener against Geelong – a surprise considering his good record on Cats' skipper Joel Selwood – before making a return a fortnight ago when he nullified Tigers superstar Dustin Martin for the second successive time, restricting him to just 18 possessions and one clearance while collecting 20 touches himself.

Greenwood didn't reach the same level against the Eagles, spending time on various opponents and having just six touches in relatively low game time (66 per cent).

Both Greenwood and Varcoe are out of contract at season's end.

The Pies and Dogs will officially announce their teams at 6.20pm on Thursday.

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