Collingwood are set to call on versatile tall Nathan Kreuger for Tuesday's Anzac Day clash against Essendon, with senior coach Craig McRae confident the ex-Cat can tame the Bombers' in-form ruck duo in his return from a shoulder injury.
After receiving surgery on a shoulder issue in the pre-season, Kreuger made his return to the field last week through the VFL - recording one goal from three disposals, along with five hit-outs in a supporting ruck role against Box Hill.
With senior ruck pair Darcy Cameron (knee), Mason Cox (spleen) and Aiden Begg (back) all recovering from their respective injuries, McRae will look to Kreuger as his leading ruck option for the Magpies' Round 6 blockbuster.
Forward pair Dan McStay and Ash Johnson, along with defender Billy Frampton, have shared the ruck duties since Cameron's injury in Round 3 against Richmond, with McRae likely to be without a recognised ruckman for at least another fortnight as Begg nears a return to full fitness.
In the meantime, as Collingwood prepare to take on fellow 4-1 side Essendon on Anzac Day, Kreuger will be tasked with breaking down the Bombers' promising ruck pairing of Sam Draper and Andrew Phillips, who dismantled Melbourne at Gather Round last week to combine for five goals and 39 hit-outs.
Speaking to media on Sunday, McRae confirmed Kreuger will be brought into the side despite a recent bout of gastro,
"Nathan Kreuger will come in and play some minutes. And we will see what comes of that,” McRae said.
"Nathan had a bout of gastro three days ago now but we are very keen to keep him away from the group. He did a full session down at Gosch's and he will be right to go.
"In terms of playing games he has played one game in three months. But in terms of his running load he has done more running than anyone on our list.
"He has a shoulder injury which hasn't restricted him and his GPS markers are huge comparative to other players on our list.
"I think the combination of Draper and Phillips is the best in the comp right now. Draper is marking the ball, so is Phillips forward of the ball. We really respect Draper as a player."
The Magpies will be forced into at least two changes from their side that claimed a six-point win over St Kilda in Round 5, with Nathan Murphy (concussion) and Taylor Adams (suspension) both set to miss Anzac Day.
Both Murphy and Adams are set for returns in Round 7 against Adelaide.
"Jordy's well. He's one of those that had a little sniffle, had the man-flu earlier in the week, but he trained really well today," McRae said.
Young midfielder Finlay Macrae could be rewarded for his strong start to the VFL season as the sub, while fringe defender Trey Ruscoe is also in the mix after being left out of the Magpies' VFL plans for the weekend.