After suffering a gruesome knee injury against the Giants, Howe will undergo surgery this week that could well end his 2020 campaign.
Speaking on SEN Drive on Monday, Cooney expressed doubt that the Magpies can cover Howe’s presence down back.
“They cannot win the premiership without Jeremy Howe. He has just been so good,” Cooney said.
“Darcy Moore has been terrific as well but it’s just the drive, he (Howe) very rarely gets beaten one-on-one, his intercept marking. I don’t think they can (win the premiership without him).
“A lot of social media feedback from the game from Collingwood supporters, they were more devastated about Jeremy Howe than losing the game.”
Howe will go under the knife on Thursday to repair his posterior cruciate and medial ligament.
“It isn’t possible to be precise about how long Jeremy’s recovery might take but we know it is going to be a matter of months rather than weeks,” Collingwood GM of Football Geoff Walsh told collingwoodfc.com.au.