Will Kelly has spent more time with Isaac Quaynor than anyone at Collingwood and he believes the first round pick will earn a first round debut next month.
“He will play in Round 1, I reckon. He is ready to play,” Kelly told foxsports.com.au during Collingwood’s broadcaster shoots at Fox Footy.
“In the last few years, he has been one I’ve drawn off to watch how he goes about things because I know how professional he is. How he goes about his footy is very impressive.
“We’ve been close for years, but even in the last four months it has grown so much from seeing him every single day and even outside of the footy environment.”
Kelly is set to return to full training later this week after starting his new life at the Magpies in the rehabilitation group following ankle surgery at the end of the TAC Cup season.
“My dad and I have been watching Brodie Grundy in the last few years and he is one I really try and emulate his work rate around the ground and his competitiveness. To walk by him at the club is amazing.
“He was really welcoming and had all the first years over to his house with Broomy [Tim Broomhead]. He is a very worldly man and a very smart man, so he is great to chat to.”
The midfield that by season’s end was arguably the best in the competition now features Dayne Beams, who didn't play last Friday because of a virus. It’s not like Collingwood even courted their 2010 premiership player. But he was looking to return to Victoria, had eyes only for the Pies and the deal was done.
Jamie Elliott seems a lock for the forward line after not playing at all last year because of chronic hamstring problems. He moved well on Friday and kicked a couple of goals. In all the excitement of last year, it was easy to forget about the dynamic small forward, but Collingwood hasn’t. He will be a huge addition.
But where the Pies shape to be considerably stiffened is their backline. Another 2018 hamstring casualty, Darcy Moore, was a standout on Friday, using his height, pace and athleticism to intercept the play and also to be the first line of attack. It was interesting that during the first quarter of the scrimmage, play would resume from the defensive goal square after every goal rather than the centre square and Moore was hard to contain, using the extended protection zone to take off and move the ball quickly towards the centre of the ground.
Also notable on Friday was Jordan Roughead, the Western Bulldogs 2016 premiership big man who moved to Collingwood in exchange for a fourth-round pick last October. It might be the steal of the trade period. He might also be a smoky for leadership group, which is yet to be finalised.
The 28-year-old adds much needed size to the Magpie back half and it was noted how Eagles pair Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling got hold of them as the Grand Final progressed last year. But with the likelihood that ‘6-6-6’ will require clubs to play two genuine ruckmen - or as close as to that as possible – having Roughead there as the second ruckman to Brodie Grundy then allows Mason Cox to play as a stay-at-home-forward.
So there’s your four. Ben Reid also moved well and will be pressing for a game early on playing out of the forward line. Draftee Isaac Quaynor impressed off half-back and certainly isn’t built like a first year player.
Now, we know that it is rare that teams have their best 22 players to pick from at any stage of the year and at Collingwood, Jack Crisp is a likely non-starter for round one because of hip and back concerns.
Great to see Darcy Moore enjoying himself at the NT camp, as per the Collingwood media reports. This, together with consistently positive training reports, are hopefully pointing to bigger and better things for him this year.
Darcy looked miserable for most of 2018, for a range of reasons, but he appears to be ‘in a better space’.