Back injury forces Magpie Elliott out of Eagles clash

Anna Harrington |

A back problem has ruled Jamie Elliott out of Collingwood’s clash with West Coast.
A back problem has ruled Jamie Elliott out of Collingwood’s clash with West Coast.

Injury-hit Collingwood will be without Jamie Elliott against West Coast after the forward failed to overcome a back issue.

Athletic defender Jeremy Howe will swing forward in Sunday’s match at Marvel Stadium to cover for the loss of Elliott, who failed to train with his teammates on Friday.

“We tried to give Jamie every chance to play. It’s why we named him in the squad,” coach Craig McRae said. 

“He woke up this morning, he’s got a bit of a sore back. It didn’t settle enough to get him out there. 

“We’ll just see how that goes from here.”

The Magpies were already without key forwards Dan McStay (knee) and Brody Mihocek (hamstring) plus speedster Beau McCreery (concussion), small forward Lachie Schultz (suspension) and goal-kicking midfielder Jordan De Goey (groin).

Reef McInnes.
Forward Reef McInnes has been recalled by the injury-hit Pies. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Howe broke through as a forward at Melbourne and, despite establishing himself as one of the AFL’s top intercept defenders, has remained a handy option in attack.

“Jeremy will play forward. We don’t have a cast of thousands lined up to play as key forwards for us,” McRae said.

“His experience will be something we really want to lean into and he’s got a lot of class as a forward, he’s got a history there, he’s a good mover and we’re hoping he can play a really good role for us.

“(We’ll) let Howie do his thing, play to his strengths, as we want all our forwards to express themselves in different ways.

“It’ll be a different forward-line mix – you take out three or four of your starting forward line from last week, it’s a different mix, but we’ll move the ball the same. It’s just a matter of playing a role within that.”

Jack Bytel.
Jack Bytel will play his first game for Collingwood since his delisting by St Kilda. (Morgan Hancock/AAP PHOTOS)

De Goey remains sidelined as the Magpies attempt to get to the bottom of his groin issue, with concerns over a potential case of the debilitating condition osteitis pubis (OP).

Asked if Collingwood had learned more about De Goey’s situation, McRae said: “Yeah, somewhat.

“That’s a scary word, OP, but it’s leading towards something if we don’t manage it, it could get as bad as that. 

“It’s not that now, but (we) grab things certainly here and deload a little bit and then see where we go, and early signs are that’s progressed towards that.”

Collingwood have recalled forward Reef McInnes and midfielder Fin Macrae.

The Magpies have also handed an AFL debut to forward Joe Richards while Jack Bytel will make his first appearance for the club that handed him a career lifeline after he was delisted by St Kilda.

For West Coast, Jayden Hunt, Ryan Maric and debutant Tyrell Dewar replace Elliot Yeo (groin), Jake Waterman (concussion) and Noah Long (knee).