COLLINGWOOD recruit Darcy Cameron is firming for his club debut in next Thursday night's return clash with Richmond, as American tall Mason Cox continues to battle with a knee problem.
As reported by AFL.com.au last week, Cox is dealing with bone bruising to his knee and is yet to re-join the main group after copping a knock at training last Wednesday.
The important 211cm forward will sit out the club's intraclub match at the Holden Centre on Thursday night and remains in some doubt to face the Tigers in a week's time, with his recovery taking longer than initially expected.
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"He won't (play in the intraclub)," Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said.
"He obviously missed last Friday and will miss this one. That knock to the knee has been problematic, but we believe he'll be right to fully train next week.
"He will be down on a bit of match practice by the time he gets there. He did come out of the quarantine period in pretty good nick physically, so there's no doubt he's done the amount of work required from a fitness perspective.
"It'll just be that match fitness that we'll have to make an assessment on next week."
Collingwood will have 38 available players for Thursday night's intraclub, with Cameron among those vying for selection.
The 205cm ruck-forward was set to add to his one AFL game in round two as a replacement for Brody Mihocek, but has been forced to wait for his chance following the enforced shutdown period due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
However, having made the switch from Sydney during last year's Telstra AFL Trade Period in exchange for a swap of later picks, Cameron is now finally on the verge of making his first appearance in Collingwood colours.
"I suppose I can share this here, even though it was 10 weeks ago now and it's old news, but out of our round one game Brody had suffered a partially collapsed lung and Darcy was the player that would have come in for him to play that exact role," Buckley said.
"Darcy's ruck work and his aerial strength were the two attributes that we brought him across from Sydney for. We traded for him to come to us.
"The major beneficiary from that in a very short space of time has been Brodie Grundy, who has had to ruck against Darcy and they've gone to town against each other and had some great battles.
"Darcy has slowly worked on his forward craft and his capacity to play as a tall forward for us. He's a real aerial target, he definitely has that capacity.
"He understands that he might get stuck in behind Brodie if he's simply pigeonholed as a ruckman and we've been really strong with him that we see his capacity and strength in the air to do some damage forward of the ball.
"He played a particularly good game against Richmond in the Marsh Community Series and he's training really well, so he's not that far away. If Mason wasn't to get up, we'd have no doubt that he could come in and play a really important role."