Alan Didak, Dane Swan, Scott Pendlebury and Marley Williams battle for possession. Photo: Mal Fairclough
COLLINGWOOD plans to use almost to its entire playing list through the NAB Cup in a bid to determine which of its big-name recruits and returning stars can command a spot in round one.
Coach Nathan Buckley told the club's family day at Victoria Park on Saturday he had up to 35 players capable of earning a game against North Melbourne on Easter Sunday, and planned to provide plenty of opportunities over the pre-season competition.
The Magpies recruited established players Quinten Lynch, Jordan Russell, Clinton Young and Ben Hudson (listed as a rookie and also the ruck coach) over the off-season and can also call on Luke Ball, Brent Macaffer and Andrew Krakouer to start the season after knee injuries kept the trio to a combined seven games last year.
Andrew Krakouer continues his comeback from a knee reconstruction. Photo: Mal Fairclough
Buckley said he wanted to field as many players as he could during the summer campaign, which starts with short matches against the Western Bulldogs and Essendon at Etihad Stadium on Saturday week.
''We've probably got 30, 35 blokes who we're trying to squeeze into 22 spots and we'll find out a little bit about the squad and whoever's up and running and performing well on field [will be] warranted with selection,'' he said.
''My philosophy is you try to win every game you play. Around that we definitely won't be playing any player for four games.
''We'll give them the chance to get the right lead-in. We're going to have to share it around because we've got some players who have trained very well and we want to see how they go against the opposition and give themselves the chance to prove their bona fides for selection early in the year.''r
Collingwood plans to play its established players for between two and three NAB Cup games across the three weekends, while the newer players would need to impress across one or two games.
Tall defender Lachlan Keeffe is slightly behind the other players who injured their knees last year. Buckley expects him to return ''through the middle part of the year''.
The Magpies trained in front of about 2000 fans at their old home before signing autographs and being presented on stage.