Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has made it clear to his players that midfield spots aren’t going to come easy in season 2019.
The Magpies will have a flurry of options for their engine room, following the addition of Dayne Beams this past trade period and the return of some experienced on-ballers.
Buckley doesn’t want his players to remain one-dimensional, but understands the balance won’t come until the beginning of the season.
“All of the midfielders these days need to have another spot on the ground they can go to, not just to fill a gap, but to have influence and bring value,” Buckley told AFL.com.au.
“That’s the challenge to the guys who want midfield time for us, that when they go to different roles, they’re actually adding value above the guys that would be in those roles if they were there.”
While Beams will be welcomed back with open arms, a player like Daniel Wells is someone who Buckley is eager to see return and add another string to a star-studded midfield.
After just four games last season, fans can expect to see Wells spend more time up the ground as forward duo Jordan De Goey and Chris Mayne see increased midfield minutes.
Buckley spoke about the versatility of captain Scott Pendlebury, who may see a change in positions at stages of the season, to help maximise the minutes of Adam Treloar, Levi Greenwood, Taylor Adams and Brayden Sier.
With players like Tom Phillips, Chris Mayne and Will Hoskin-Elliott holding down the wings, Buckley sees Sier as the player to watch following a season that saw him break into the Collingwood midfield.
“He’s one that has played inside and needs to add another string to his bow,” Buckley said.
“He spent time forward and we need to continue to give him that exposure to develop.”
Collingwood will be looking to pick up from their narrow Grand Final loss last season as they prepare for the JLT Community series starting early March.