Brown to return for Magpies
Collingwood defender Nathan Brown will play his first AFL match since the Magpies' 2010 premiership win in Wednesday's Anzac Day clash with Essendon.
Brown missed all of last season with knee injuries, but has tuned up with three VFL games and coach Nathan Buckley declared him certain to make his AFL comeback against the Bombers at the MCG.
Half-forward Alan Didak is also being considered, having found fitness in the VFL after a pre-season adductor injury.
Brown was a star of Collingwood's 2010 grand final win, playing a key role on St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt in both the initial drawn grand final and the replay.
Buckley said his return thrilled teammates.
"Browny personifies everything we love about the club," the Magpies coach told reporters on Tuesday.
"He's a hard worker, he's disciplined, he's selfless, he's a great team man and his teammates are rapt to see him back on the MCG and he's looking forward to it."
Buckley said the Magpies had not rushed Brown's return at all because they are missing other key defenders through injury, or because the club is coming off a four-day break.
"No, he's ready to go. He couldn't tick another box. We couldn't create another box for him to tick. He's flying," Buckley said.