Collingwood have come out to play down fears Jordan de Goey has suffered a setback in his recovery from injury on the verge of the finals. The star forward has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since round 19 but had been expected to return to action before the finals. That is now in doubt after de Goey was spotted visiting a specialist recently – although the Pies have insisted that isn’t the case and the 23-year old is on course to be fit in time.
De Goey is one of a number of Magpies players currently out of action with injuries, including Darcy Moore, Daniel Wells, Dayne Beams, Mason Cox and Ben Reid. Utility man Reid appears to be closest to returning to the team after stepping up his training schedule. Wells is also set to make his long-awaited return to the squad after a PCL injury in round 10. When he suffered the injury, there were some who assumed we’d seen the last of the 34-year old, but Wells has worked hard to get back to full fitness and could now have a big role to play in the finals. But it’s de Goey who could really hold the key for the Pies in the finals – and it’s the forward’s fitness that has the Collingwood fans panicking.
After a run of seven wins in a row, Collingwood’s incredible consistency was replaced by a distinct lack of it, culminating in four losses out of five games between round 15 and 19. Back-to-back wins have put the Magpies back on track and, at around 10/1 with the latest Aussie Rules betting odds, it’s clear the bookies still feel the Pies have a decent chance of going all the way despite their injury problems. Those odds may change somewhat if de Goey isn’t back in time for the finals, though.
The 23-year old hasn’t always been in the good books at Collingwood, picking up numerous suspensions for incidents as wide-ranging as lying about an injury to drink driving. On the field, though, de Goey has proven why some clubs stick with certain players despite their issues, scoring 48 goals in a sensational 2018 campaign. It’s been another prolific year for de Goey before his injury, scoring 34 goals in 16 appearances, proving just how important he is to the Pies’ hopes in the finals.
Nathan Buckley’s men have the additional motivation of suffering the heartbreak of a Grand Final defeat to the West Coast Eagles last season. While you can argue this team is stronger than the one that finished last year, the fact is they haven’t performed as well in the home and away season as they did in 2018. With their place in the finals secured, though, the Magpies fans won’t care how the club finished the regular campaign if they can end the finals as premiers. It’s been a long nine years for the Magpies without a premiership but, if they can get de Goey back to his best in time for the finals, then this could well be their year.