MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 23: Josh Daicos of the Magpies is tackled by Dan Houston of the Power during the round 10 AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Port Adelaide Power at Melbourne Cricket Ground on May 23, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Under new leadership, a fresh-faced Collingwood side will look to bounce back from an incredibly underwhelming 2021 season, after which they sat second-bottom on the ladder behind the likes of strugglers Gold Coast, Adelaide and arch-rival Carlton.

The Magpies' most recent campaign represented the club's first finals absence since the 2017 season.

After the departure of senior coach and club stalwart Nathan Buckley throughout 2021, promising replacement Craig McRae will be looking to hit the ground running in Round 1 against St Kilda with a host of new names acquired over the offseason.

Ins: Nathan Kreuger (Geelong), Patrick Lipinski (Western Bulldogs), Nick Daicos (National Draft), Arlo Draper (National Draft), Cooper Murley (National Draft), Harvey Harrison (National Draft), Charlie Dean (Rookie Draft).

Outs: Chris Mayne (Retired), Anton Tohill (Retired), Max Lynch (Hawthorn), Josh Thomas (Retired), Brayden Sier (Delisted), Jay Rantall (Delisted).

Defenders

While the Magpies will miss the steady head of Chris Mayne, there are plenty of premium names heading Collingwood's back six in the new year.

After his 2021 season was unfortunately cut short due to a hamstring injury, a hopefully-healthy Jeremy Howe should elevate the Pies' ability to defend opponent forward entries.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 25: Darcy Moore of the Magpies celebrates a win after the final siren during the 2021 AFL Round 02 match between the Carlton Blues and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 25, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, at age 25, key defender Darcy Moore is currently in the prime years of his career and is one of the league's best one-on-one defenders.

Furthermore, the Magpies will continue to thrive across half-back, with Brayden Maynard, Jack Crisp and Isaac Quaynor all possessing elite rebounding ability exiting defensive 50.

Midfielders

Collingwood will enter the 2022 season with the same damaging core of midfielders its fans have come to adore over the course of the last decade.

Veterans Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom and Taylor Adams are all returning for the Pies at full strength, with the likes of Jordan De Goey, Josh Daicos and trade acquisition Patrick Lipinski all set to occupy midfield minutes throughout the season, with Brodie Grundy leading the brigade in the ruck.

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The Magpies also won the prize that was top draft selection and father-son prospect Nick Daicos.

The 18-year-old is very likely to feature in Collingwood's best 22 from the get-go, with the Oakleigh Chargers product's elusiveness and elite foot skills set to be on full display in black-and-white.

Forwards

The Pies addressed their need for a bonafide key forward by trading for Geelong's Nathan Kreuger during the 2021 trade period, but with the 22-year-old just as likely to play in the Pies' defensive 50, questions still remain over list of the key forwards at McRae's disposal.

American Mason Cox has been a picture of inconsistency since his dominant 2018 finals campaign, and while Darcy Cameron has shown flashes of being a dominant forward in the AFL, we haven't seen enough from him yet to confidently make that determination.

However, key forwards aside, there is no doubt that Collingwood's mid-sized goalkickers wreak havoc for opposing defenders on a frequent basis.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 06: Jamie Elliott of the Magpies celebrates a goal during the 2019 AFL First Qualifying Final match between the Geelong Cats and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 06, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Off-field issues exempt, De Goey is an undeniable force inside forward-50, as is the lethal Jamie Elliott when he's leading from full forward.

Add in a bit of Josh Daicos here and a bit of Sidebottom there, and the Pies are arguably able to compensate for their lack of a game-changing key position men.

Best 22

FB: Jeremy Howe, Jordan Roughead, Brayden Maynard
HB: Isaac Quaynor, Darcy Moore, Jack Crisp
C: Patrick Lipinski, Scott Pendlebury, Caleb Poulter
HF: Josh Daicos, Brody Mihocek, Jordan De Goey
FF: Jamie Elliott, Darcy Cameron, Beau McCreery
FOL: Brodie Grundy, Taylor Adams, Steele Sidebottom
I/C: John Noble, Nathan Kreuger, Oliver Henry, Nick Daicos

EMERG: Mason Cox, Will Hoskin-Elliott, Jack Madgen, Finlay Macrae

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