COLLINGWOOD has been hit by illness for the second straight week, with four players missing Thursday's main training session ahead of Saturday's game against Richmond.
NAB AFL Rising Star favourite Nick Daicos, vice-captain Taylor Adams, gun defender Brayden Maynard and teenager Reef McInnes were all away from the AIA Centre dealing with the flu.
Jordan De Goey and Will Hoskin-Elliott both played against Gold Coast last Sunday after missing training sessions during the week due to bouts of gastro, while other players were impacted last weekend.
MEDICAL ROOM Check out the full injury list
The Magpies are hopeful all four will face the Tigers at the MCG, but the toll of a six-day break between Anzac Day and the game against the Suns, amid a gastro outbreak might force the club to make some changes.
"We've got the man flu still going; it's gone through us last week and there's a little bit of carryover this week. We've got two or three with the flu," Collingwood coach Craig McRae told reporters on Thursday.
"It tipped over on the weekend. Credit to a lot of players, they played unwell and played with great spirit. Unfortunately it's carried over this week as well.
"Jordy and Will really did well to get up. We got told many times that they were probably unlikely to play. Credit to those guys to go out and contribute and play their roles."
While Collingwood could be without some stars, just down the road and around the corner, Richmond confirmed the return of superstar midfielder Dustin Martin for the first time since the Brownlow Medal winner took personal leave after round one.
McRae worked with the Brownlow medallist during his time as an assistant coach at Punt Road and is thrilled to see the 30-year-old back in business. Although the new Magpies coach would have preferred Martin returned in round nine, rather than this weekend.
"I'm pumped," McRae said with a wry smile at the AIA Centre.
"You have certain things in place for Dusty. Clearly he is an elite player. It is actually good to see him back, to be honest.
"I really enjoyed coaching Dusty. You only want the best for players like him, hopefully he's well."
McRae said in-form small forward Jack Ginnivan is still learning how to be an elite professional after it emerged earlier in the week Collingwood's leadership group spoke to him after he broke a club rule around drinking on a six-day break, following his Anzac Day Medal-winning performance in the win over Essendon.
"He's a kid that's just finding his feet in AFL footy and learning what it takes. We like what he brings to the table," he said.
"It is all about education, not just for Jack. We're learning to be winners and acting like winners as much as we can.
"We're not going to shy away from trying to create standards and habits; we want to be winners, if you want to act like a winner that's the behaviours we want need to do.
"This is not about Jack; this is about our whole group; we've been consistent right from when I first stepped in this role that we're going to act like winners."
Star mobile forward Jamie Elliott completed some drills with the main group and is ahead of schedule in his return from shoulder surgery.
The 29-year-old was expected to miss three months after injuring his AC joint against West Coast in round four, but could be only a month away from returning after impressing McRae and high performance staff on Thursday.
"Jeez I was excited, I must admit. I don't want to talk when, but it was nice to see him running around," he said.
"The operation went well, as you would hope. In terms of just getting Jamie ready to play, I don’t want timeframe that is, but seeing him run around and join in some drills he looks closer than further away."