MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 28: Nathan Buckley, Senior Coach of the Magpies addresses his players during the 2016 AFL Round 23 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 28, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

In the lead up to the 2017 season, we will be assessing each club’s list and naming our best 22 for round one. Working our way up the ladder; following the analysis of Richmond, the next cab off the rank is Collingwood.

Ins: Lynden Dunn, Will Hoskin-Elliott, Chris Mayne, Daniel Wells, Mitch McCarthy, Henry SchadeLiam Mackie, Sam McLartyCallum Brown, Kayle KirbyJosh Daicos, Josh Thomas, Lachlan Keeffe.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 11: Daniel Wells of the Magpies in action during the Collingwood Magpies training session at Olympic Park Oval on January 11, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Outs: Nathan Brown, Travis Cloke, Corey Gault, Tim Golds, Matthew GoodyearBrent Macaffer, Jonathon Marsh, Dane Swan, Alan Toovey, Marley Williams, Jarrod Witts, Darrean WyattJack Frost.

Zero Hanger 2017 ladder prediction: 13th.

After 14 list changes in the off-season, it seems Nathan Buckley still believes he must make finals in 2017 to keep his job. With the departure of veterans Travis Cloke, Dane Swan, Alan Toovey and Nathan Brown, the team is going in a new direction for this season. Can the new recruits turn Collingwood’s fortunes around?

Strengths

After Collingwood’s mid-season bye last season, Brodie Grundy put together a sensational run of form. The 2012 first round draft pick finished ninth in total hitouts in the competition and cemented himself as one of the leagues top ruckmen. There isn’t a lot of support in that position as Jesse White plays predominantly as a forward, so expect Grundy to take a lot of the workload in 2017. He should thrive in that role.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JULY 09: Brodie Grundy of the Magpies celebrates after kicking a goal during the round 16 AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Collingwood Magpies at Spotless Stadium on July 9, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The midfield has an abundance of depth and should be able to match most clubs in the competition. Recruiting Wells will prove a masterstroke if he can get on the park, the Pies needed better ball users to support Pendlebury through the middle and Wells delivers that. They have a lot of good inside players, but seem to be lacking speed, Will Hoskin-Elliot should bring this to the side.

Weaknesses

The forward line is a mix-and-match of youngsters, new recruits and injury prone players. Darcy Moore is the star but this will be only his third season, Jamie Elliot hasn’t played since 2015 and Chris Mayne was off the boil in 2016. Alex Fasolo played only 12 games in 2016 due to injury and form issues and he really had to fight to get back into the side in the late rounds. Hopefully that is the shot in the arm he needs to reignite his career. Buckley is relying on these players to fire if the Pies are going to push for finals in 2017.

There are similar issues in defence with three of their tall backs in Nathan Brown; Jack Frost and Jonathon Marsh leaving the club, they are short of players in that position. Ben Reid and Matt Scharenberg are the long-term prospects but both are injury prone. I really like Tom Langdon, but again he missed a lot of footy last year. Lynden Dunn comes in to fill a role and he will likely see a lot of game time this year. While all the talk around Lachie Keeffe suggests he will play up forward. There are too many changes in an area of the field where stability is needed.

Projected Collingwood 2017 round one best 22:

FB: Tom Langdon, Lynden Dunn, Brayden Maynard

HB: Jeremy Howe, Ben Reid, Travis Varcoe

C: Daniel Wells, Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom

HF: Will Hoskin-Elliot, Jesse White, Alex Fasolo

FF: Chris Mayne, Darcy Moore, Jamie Elliot

FOL: Brodie Grundy, Adam Treloar, Taylor Adams

I/C: Jack Crisp, Levi Greenwood, Jordan De Goey, James Aish

EMG: Lachie Keeffe, Ben Sinclair, Jarryd Blair