Collingwood enter 2023 off the back of an unforgettable 2022 that saw them rise from 17th to 4th, missing a grand final berth by a single point.
Some may call them lucky, given they won a record amount of close games, but there is no doubting the talent is there.
Can they go one further and make a grand final or will they slide a little? Or more?
A number of new recruits look to make them better, and all have an argument to be in the best 23.
Outs: Callum L. Brown (delisted), Tyler Brown (delisted), Isaac Chugg (delisted), Brodie Grundy (Melbourne Demons), Oliver Henry (Geelong Cats), Jack Madgen (delisted), Liam McMahon (delisted), Caleb Poulter (delisted), Jordan Roughead (retired)
Here we assess Collingwood's depth chart for 2023 and name their best 23-man side.
With the retirement of Jordan Roughead, the Magpies were left with a sizeable hole in their defence. Given it came early in the year, Craig McRae was given ample time to see if any listed players could fill said role.
Darcy Moore was one, but he's best served playing as a running intercept marker, and that is what he'll be, potentially as captain.
Nathan Murphy soldiered on as a key defender but was quite undersized against monster forwards. Expect him to remain in the side however.
Jeremy Howe can no longer be a key defender but his importance remains, as a veteran steering ship down back and for his marking and kicking efficiency.
Adelaide recruit Billy Frampton looks to be the one to take the fullback role. Collingwood obviously see something in him, otherwise, he wouldn't have been such a top target amon their recruitment plan. The fringe ex-Crow, at two metres tall, has the potential to be a key forward stopper, something the Pies have lacked.
One name who could be considered for the starting back six is Charlie Dean. Dean was unlucky with injury, keeping his debut at senior level on hold but if he remains fit, we could see him in the best 22 by season's end.
Nick Daicos remains the interesting one, how much longer will he remain at half-back? The young sensation is a star midfielder in the making, and could depend on Scott Pendlebury maybe transitioning to the half-back permanently.
The fact that Collingwood have a Brownlow medallist to add to their engine room cannot be understated, albeit the contempt fans have for his win.
Despite that, at his peak, he was the best clearance player in the league, averaging eight per game, along with 35 disposals.
The biggest weakness for Collingwood last season was centre clearances, despite just running out winners, they were generally smashed in this area.
If Mitchell can get back to his best or near it, his last few seasons at Hawthorn saw him play a different role that he didn't excel in, it will go a long way to helping Collingwood push for their 16th flag.
Pies fans and coaches just need Mitchell to hand the ball over to Jordan De Goey after winning clearances.
Darcy Cameron is now the number one ruckman with Brodie Grundy no longer at the club. He broke out last season in Grundy's absence and could continue to be supported by Mason Cox, or more likely Daniel McStay (more on him later).
Injuries continue to hamper Taylor Adams, but when he's fit he's one of the club's most important midfielders, he's an All-Australian after all.
After back-to-back Copeland wins and an incredible finals series, there is no doubt Jack Crisp belongs in the midfield now.
Josh Carmichael had some memorable games as a medical sub in 2022, and he's probably on the precipice of the team.
Many have criticized the move to recruit him, and he could likely play as the second tall/ruck, although he kicked 41 goals in 2022.
Brody Mihocek will likely continue to be the Pies' key target up forward, having been the leading goalkicker four seasons running.
Another tall that could come in is Nathan Kreuger, but it's interesting to see how many key forwards could fit into the side.
With Cox and Cameron not overly useful up forward in 2022, the other talls will likely continue to provide what's needed.
Ash Johnson served well as a third tallish player, but McStay's arrival may push him out for now.
Jamie Elliott, the clutch player of 2022, is finally looking injury free and proving just how good he is when firing. He may also help in the midfield from time to time.
Speaking of helping in the midfield, Steele Sidebottom may be moved to half-forward, but his skills are too good to stay there forever, and he'll likely go to the wing or wherever he's needed.
Not much has to be said about Jack Ginnivan, supporters and rivals know what he brings, and if he can improve his game it will do wonders for him and Collingwood.
The forward recruit, Bobby Hill, is a wildcard. Some don't think he could add much, but a new environment may change things. Expecting a breakout year for the 22-year-old, Hill could be the small forward who kicks 30-40 goals for the Pies.
FB: Jeremy Howe, Billy Frampton, Brayden Maynard
HB: Nick Daicos, Darcy Moore, Isaac Quaynor
C: Josh Daicos, Jack Crisp, Patrick Lipinski
HF: Jamie Elliott, Daniel McStay, Steele Sidebottom
FF: Bobby Hill, Brody Mihocek, Jack Ginnivan
FOL: Darcy Cameron, Tom Mitchell, Jordan De Goey
INT: Beau McCreery, Taylor Adams, Scott Pendlebury, Nathan Murphy
Sub: Josh Carmichael
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