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Daisy ready, Jolly doubt for AFL's Magpies
By Sam Lienert
18:10 AEST Mon Apr 8 2013

Collingwood star Dale Thomas is ready for an AFL comeback against Hawthorn at the MCG on Sunday.

But the Magpies are uncertain whether ruckman Darren Jolly, battling a rib injury, will play.

Thomas was hampered by an ankle injury late last season and after off-season surgery has built fitness through the VFL over the past two rounds.

Thomas said the club's cautious approach in not rushing his AFL return would benefit him long-term.

But it's also been a frustrating wait and he'll be telling coach Nathan Buckley it's been long enough.

"I'll be having a chat with Nathan throughout the week," Thomas told reporters on Monday.

"I'll be certainly telling him that if he's happy to pick me I'll be more than happy to play."

Jolly, who went down early in Sunday's win over Carlton, has been cleared of broken ribs but cartilage damage still makes him an uncertain proposition.

"It will be a case of seeing how he feels this week and of how much he can do at training," Magpies football director Geoff Walsh said.

If he doesn't play, veteran Ben Hudson and young giant Jarrod Witts will vie for selection, with Hudson seeking to debut at a fourth club and Witts yet to play AFL.

Alex Fasolo and Alan Didak, who played VFL on Saturday, will also press for senior selection.

But with young small forward Jamie Elliott having starred with a match-winning five-goal haul against Carlton and rookie-list recruit Sam Dwyer also performing well, it will be hard to find players to drop.

"It's a good problem to have," Thomas said.

Ex-Hawthorn recruit Clinton Young won't make his Magpies debut for at least three or four more weeks, after injuring a hamstring in the VFL, on return from a calf complaint.

The Hawks beat the Magpies all three times they met last season and kicked at least 20 goals on each occasion.

It makes Sunday's clash a good test of Collingwood's improvement, particularly defensively.

Thomas said the signs over the first two rounds were good but there was still room to get a lot better.


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