AAP AFL

Melbourne lose Gawn for crunch AFL clash

By AAP Newswire

It's a case of one captain in and one captain out for the pivotal clash between Collingwood and Melbourne at the Gabba as the AFL finals race intensifies.

The Magpies will regain Scott Pendlebury from a quadriceps injury, while the Demons have lost Max Gawn for at least one match with a knee issue.

The latter is a case of terrible timing, with Gawn's understudy Luke Jackson (hamstring) unavailable for the next few weeks.

The unfortunate situation has opened the door for Braydon Preuss to play his first match of the 2020 season on Saturday against Collingwood ruck star Brodie Grundy.

Pruess, 25, played seven games for Melbourne last year after crossing from North Melbourne.

"It's a big job for Preussy to take on Grundy and we're looking forward to seeing how that goes," Goodwin said.

"He obviously hasn't played a lot of footy but what he has done is put in a lot of training and a lot of hard work.

"He's been sitting on the sidelines for a little while and we've had a few match simulations with our players and getting them up to speed, but there's nothing like full-blown AFL games.

"He's done the work, he's done the preparation, he's waited for his opportunity and there's no bigger opportunity than against Grundy."

Gawn hurt a posterior cruciate ligament late in last week's win over Adelaide but Goodwin said the All-Australian ruckman is likely to be back in action against the Western Bulldogs in round 13.

"He did some running (on Thursday) and he's started his progression forward but we're really confident of the following week," Goodwin said.

Pendlebury returns for Collingwood after missing four matches, having been a late withdrawal moments before bounce down in round eight.

Pies coach Nathan Buckley welcomed the classy midfielder's return.

"He's right to go and looking forward to playing," Buckley said.

"He's done everything in his power and he's up and physically ready to go."

Darcy Moore, Jamie Elliott, Will Hoskin-Elliott and Ben Reid have all been given the green light and will return for the Magpies against Melbourne.

Jaidyn Stephenson, Chris Mayne and Tom Broomhead have been dropped, while Brayden Sier (thigh) and Jordan Roughead (concussion).

Jack Viney and Jay Lockhart are back for the Demons, who have left out Mitch Hannan and Trent Rivers.