Fit Pies will test Freo
Fit Pies will test Freo

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has lived up to his promise of selecting only fit players for Friday's clash with Fremantle by ruling out Ben Reid and Jesse White from the season oepner.

Reid and White, key forwards for the Magpies, failed to prove they had overcome calf muscle strains at training today.

Alex Fasolo, Sam Dwyer and Josh Thomas have already been ruled out because of interrupted pre-seasons as Buckley predicted Friday’s assignment loomed as one of the toughest matches of the year.

Buckley stressed the Magpies would pick a team that could run out the game and make the most of Fremantle having a later start to their 2014 campaign.

“We’ll have 22 really fit players who will go into the game against a side that everyone is touting as premiership favourites,” Buckley said.

“Ross (Lyon) has said himself they are probably three weeks shy in their pre-season.

“We won’t be taking any risks with any players. Round one is a fast game. It’s possibly the fastest game in the home-and-away (season).

“Last year we had (Dayne) Beams and (Heath) Shaw pull out late and put in (Jack) Frost and (Josh)

Thomas for their first games and we were able to perform better as a side because we took in fit players.

“So, That’ll be our focus, and the No.1 end-eavour for our selection. Names are irrelevant.

Performance is all that matters and preparation — blokes who have prepared well and had full pre-seasons.”

Premiership defender Alan Toovey seems set to return to the line-up after rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament in the Anzac Day loss to Essendon last season.

The Magpies haven’t rushed the West Australian, preferring to allow him to find form and fitness in the VFL before playing in a practice game against Gold Coast last Sunday week.

Buckley described Toovey as Collingwood’s heart and soul.

“There are certain characters in a playing group that become the heart-and-soul players for the way you want to go about it,” Buckley said.

“Toovs, throughout his career has been fairly well maligned in regards to what he’s provided.

“He’s not the cleanest top-end player that you’ve seen get around. He’s not the smoothest in that regard, but he’s effective.

“He plays the game in a manner that we love the game played.

“He’s combative, he’s defence first, contested-ball orientated and I think his teammates will walk taller around him.”

Utility Tom Langdon, who joined Collingwood as a third-round pick in last November’s national draft, could make his AFL debut.

The Magpies yesterday announced they would dedicate 2014 to their all of the club’s former players.

The side will wear a commemorative jumper in its round-23 clash with Hawthorn, which will feature the names of every player to have represented Collingwood.

They will also hold a function on August 27 where every living Collingwood player will be invited.

The West Australian

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