De Goey, Grundy set to face Lions despite missing training with ‘sniffles’

Star Collingwood duo Brodie Grundy and Jordan De Goey missed training on Monday morning with “a sniffle” but Magpies coach Nathan Buckley insists both will be available to take on the Brisbane Lions in Thursday night’s relocated clash at Marvel Stadium.

Ruckman Grundy and dynamic midfielder/forward De Goey were both absent as the Pies went through their paces at Olympic Park, but Buckley explained there was a straightforward reason for it.

Jordan De Goey has a “sniffle”.Credit:Getty Images

“They had a sniffle and they’ve followed their COVID protocols and stayed at home away from the group, that’s pretty much what it was,” Buckley said.

“That’s standard protocol. Much to the coach’s chagrin, there’s probably been more lost sessions to runny noses in the last couple of months than we would like but they’re the extra precautions that we’re taking to make sure that we don’t have a repeat of last year.

“We’ve done really well to keep COVID out of the cohort, for the last part.

“It’s not a big issue, this is probably happening across the competition at every club, every week. But now that I’ve put it on camera for you, please, blow it up. They’re playing [against the Lions].”

With Jamie Elliott sidelined because of a leg fracture, the Pies will continue to split De Goey’s time beteween the midfield and inside forward 50, with Buckley unwilling to put specific percentage game time figures on De Goey’s positional division.

Buckley said the Pies were considering several options to replace Elliott, hinting that Chris Mayne and Nathan Murphy were both in contention for recalls.

The coach also said that Collingwood would contemplate bringing in veteran Levi Greenwood to tage Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale, who was curbed by Geelong’s Mark O’Connor in round two.

“We know Levi has been a really good stopper for us in the past, so that’s a consideration for us. Neale is a quality player, he doesn’t often put two bad ones together either,” Buckley said.

Buckley said he agreed with the AFL’s decision to swap this Thursday night’s game and the round 22 re-match between the Pies and Lions after Brisbane was sent into lockdown following a coronavirus outbreak.

Nathan Buckley oversees Collingwood training on Monday.Credit:Eddie Jim

“It just seems like common sense to me. Obviously we always felt it wasn’t going to be isolated to 2020,” Buckley said.

Buckley also addressed the controversy surrounding the trial of anti-density rules at VFL level, an issue that has drawn the ire of several other AFL coaches.

“I’ve seen one game and GPS is a long way down compared to what we need to do at AFL level. In a perfect world we would like to have a chance to prepare our young players, or the players that are in the second-tier competition as well as we possibly can to come up into the senior competition. And the fact that there are different rules and regulations makes that problematic. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t cater for that.

“I understand the idea of having a look at different things and the second tier competition is where you want that to happen.

“So I can see both sides of the argument.”

Asked about Cats coach Chris Scott’s run-in with the Brisbane camp during the quarter-time huddle last Friday night, Buckley said: “I haven’t gone through it in detail.”

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