Collingwood has faced an insurmountable amount of scrutiny following a poor start to season 2024.

Sitting 0-3 after Round 2 and failing to live up to the hype of genuine back-to-back contenders (so far), calls have been made to make brutal decisions at the selection table.

Pies coach Craig McRae has struggled to get his men to the high level that swept through the competition in 2023, with his veterans copping most of the brunt.

Listed as the oldest side in the AFL, questions have arisen over club legends Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom's ability to produce up-to-standard performances, while Tom Mitchell and Will Hoskin-Elliott have already been managed in the early part of the year.

"There's always a challenge in playing three games in 12 days, no matter how old you are," McRae told reporters on Tuesday.

"We think about that internally. We've been measured and thinking about examples like Will Hoskin-Elliott and Tom Mitchell... we were very strategic in looking after those guys and whether that happens this week, time will tell.

"I hope to think (Sidebottom will play) if he's fit and available. We'll go to the match committee but he might be one that we've been talking about (the short breaks), it might be a chance to give him a rest."

McRae's messaging about "backing" in his players has never wavered, but he acknowledges that things need to change quickly to get their season back on track.

"We like to back people in... but we're very honest internally and things need to get busy for a couple and the whole footy world knows that," the 2023 premiership coach said.

"We like to be loyal and back people in and allow them to go make amends or show us what you got and believe in people."

However, Collingwood's poor start shouldn't be taken away from their first three opponents, with the Giants, Swans and Saints all showing grounds for their premiership credentials.

McRae has been "gracious and humble" in defeat but realises that the "high transitional" game style that is catching his veterans out won't last when it comes to the middle of the year.

"I do believe that the competition is getting better, everyone's improving. And I think physically, at the start of the year, everyone is at their absolute optimum," McRae said.

"And that's real. And we're very conscious that the game is highly transitional early in the season.

"During June, and the wet, when it's a bit slower, experience is very important, so we must be careful what we see now and what's potentially coming."

The Collingwood coach didn't deny the use of the substitute for one of his experienced players, saying: "We'll weigh up the six-day, six-day, six-day (turnarounds) and what that looks like and then what's coming as well.

"We'll just manage everyone individually, to be honest.

"That's the luxury of the 23 is that you might be able to name someone as the sub."

The Pies will hope ruckman Darcy Cameron will be ready to go for the crunch clash after battling a bout of gastro and being absent from the main training session.

Collingwood WON BY 20 POINTS