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Fit-again Magpies ready to hit finals running

“It’s probably a blessing in disguise. It’s the best I have felt all year. So I am really good to attack finals,” De Goey said.

“The body is good I have had a good block of four [weeks training] so I have put my hand up for this week and hopefully they pick me. Obviously everyone is going well, so it is going to be tough.”

Collingwood will also bring in Jaidyn Stephenson after he returned from his 10-game gambling suspension, seeing the Magpies near full strength.

Of likely first-22 players only Dayne Beams and Mason Cox are unavailable, with defender James Aish also declared fit after suffering a shoulder injury in round 18.

Aish is highly rated at the club and being discussed as a serious chance to return, but it is doubtful the Magpies would re-introduce so many players with limited match practice all at once. Darcy Moore has played half a game in seven weeks, Jordan De Goey not at all since round 19 and Stephenson has just one VFL game under his belt since mid-June.

Who they leave out of the side remains unclear with defenders Jack Madgen and Matt Scharenberg likely omissions due to match-ups. Travis Varcoe, Levi Greenwood, Rupert Wills and John Noble are all playing well but under pressure to hold their place in the side.

De Goey said the Magpies, like other teams, had imposed an alcohol ban in September.

Jordan De Goey has battled a hamstring complaint.

Jordan De Goey has battled a hamstring complaint.Credit:Joe Armao

“This time of year everyone goes off the grog anyway. It’s not something you want to be seen doing going out on weekends. Everyone stays in on weekends and makes sure their body is ready to go,” he said.

Sidebottom said he initially thought he was OK after a “normal hit in the balls” but the pain quickly worsened.

“I almost thought I was about to faint at one stage. I came inside and did an ultrasound and they didn’t find anything but he sent me over to Olympic Park where they have better machines and within the next few hours I was in hospital and having surgery,” he said.

“The first few days post-surgery, maybe there was a little bit of doubt but by the next Wednesday I was pretty confident I was right.”

De Goey said his role would not change due to his injury but with Cox out and Collingwood likely to play a 1-5 forward line he would take responsibility for playing as a target.

“I was only really doing pinch hits in the midfield anyway so I don’t think that will change. I still have my bursts through there, but mainly forward.

Jamie Elliott had earned the right to play out of the goal square with his good form of the last month, De Goey said.

“Jamie has been killing it so I wouldn’t kick him out, I would give him first crack at it then it’s probably me, then Stevo [Stephenson] because Stevo is the youngest so he can go last.”

De Goey empathised with Stephenson running into trouble as a young player and said he reached out to provide support to his young teammate.

“The media tries to smash you flat out, especially for two days after it comes out,” De Goey said.

“I just said to him, ‘This will all pass, don’t worry about it’ … Everyone’s young once and everyone [stuffs] up sometimes, no surprises there, and I don’t think people should hold that against him because he’s a really good kid.”

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