Teams: Cats make call on Steven
JACK Steven is set to make his debut next week against Carlton at GMHBA Stadium after the Cats decided not to rush his comeback.
Coach Chris Scott had foreshadowed a more conservative selection policy despite the club being impressed with his training and quick recovery from a stab wound.
The Cats will name a largely settled side from their fighting Round 1 contest against GWS, where they came up short against a stunningly accurate Giants.
Steven trained well in match simulation but another week of training will have him with more miles under his legs by Round 3 in the Saturday night home clash against the Blues.
Darcy Fort was impressive at times against GWS and could form a ruck duo given time to work together along with forward Esava Ratugolea.
The Cats confirmed this week Josh Jenkins was battling with a back injury and had done little training in recent weeks since a resumption from the AFL stand down.
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HAWKS RULE OUT O'MEARA
Hawthorn star Jaeger O'Meara won't play against Geelong on Friday night after failing to get clearance from his surgeon to resume contact training.
O'Meara suffered a fracture above his eye in a training incident last month and could only complete running and boxing at training on Wednesday as his teammates went through a physical match simulation.
Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson confirmed O'Meara wouldn't play against the Cats as his team prepared to venture down the highway for the first time in more than a decade.
"We haven't been able to ramp him up to full contact as yet. The doctor won't allow us to do that until early next week," Clarkson said.
"He's an unfortunate miss for us this week but hopefully he'll be right for next week."
Clarkson said they were yet to decide whether defender Blake Hardwick would play against Geelong.
Hardwick is back in full training after a ruptured pectoral muscle kept him out of the round one win over Brisbane.
"He's available to play. We just have to make the tough call on whether he's done enough," Clarkson said.
"We'll determine today if Blake Hardwick makes the 22 … we're not sure whether we want to make too much change to the side that beat Brisbane."
ROUND 2 TEAMS
COLLINGWOOD v RICHMOND
Thursday June 11, 7.40pm at the MCG
B: Jack Crisp, Jordan Roughead, Jeremy Howe
HB: Brayden Maynard, Darcy Moore, John Noble
C: Will Hoskin-Elliott, Scott Pendlebury, Chris Mayne
HF: Tom Phillips, Brodie Mihocek, Callum Brown
F: Jordan De Goey, Darcy Cameron, Jamie Elliott
FOLL: Brodie Grundy, Taylor Adams, Steele Sidebottom
I/C: Josh Daicos, Josh Thomas, Tyler Brown, Jack Madgen
EMG: Jaidyn Stephenson, Rupert Wills, Mason Cox, Jay Rantall
IN: Darcy Cameron
OUT: Mason Cox (Omitted)
B: Nathan Broad, Dylan Grimes, David Astbury
HB: Jayden Short, Nick Vlaustin, Bachar Houli
C: Dan Rioli, Dion Prestia, Jack Graham
HF: Shai Bolton, Shane Edwards, Jason Castagna
F: Tom Lynch, Dustin Martin, Jack Riewoldt
FOLL: Ivan Soldo, Trent Cotchin, Kane Lambert
I/C: Marlion Pickett, Jack Higgins, Liam Baker, Sydney Stack
EMG: Jack Ross, Kamdyn McIntosh, Patrick Naish, Toby Nankervis
IN: Bachar Houli, Jack Higgins
OUT: Josh Caddy (Injured), Toby Nankervis (Omitted)
KFC SuperCoach players to watch: All aboard the Darcy Cameron ($123,900, FWD/RUCK) train. A strong score beckons with the possibility of fellow cash cow Marlion Pickett rucking against him at stoppages. You can just about lock in Brodie Grundy as vice-captain as well.
WARD TO RETURN AFTER TORN ACL
GWS midfielder Callan Ward will make his long-awaited return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the Giants' clash against North Melbourne on Sunday.
Coach Leon Cameron announced the news to Ward and the playing group before training on Thursday.
Ward tore his ACL in Round 4 last year and missed the rest of the season, including the Giants' first ever Grand Final appearance.
He did not play in Round 1 as he continued his rehabilitation.
TIGERS BACK SOLDO TO TAKE ON DOMINANT GRUNDY
Richmond will go into their season restart clash with just one ruckman against behemoth Brodie Grundy.
Dual premiership ruckman Toby Nankervis has been axed with understudy Ivan Soldo set to face a two-pronged Collingwood ruck outfit of Grundy and Magpies debutant Darcy Cameron.
The 205cm former Swan comes in for American giant Mason Cox, with an interrupted preparation as a result of a knee concern seeing him overlooked.
Forward Josh Caddy (injured) is the other notable out for the Tigers but his replacement, youngster Jack Higgins, is sure to bring a smile to all footy fans after recovering from emergency brain surgery last year.
Bachar Houli will also return for the Tigers after overcoming a calf setback.
The All-Australian defender missed Round 1 with a separate soft tissue injury.
BIRCHALL SET TO PLAY FIRST GAME AS A LION
Brisbane will hand Tom Berry - the younger brother of Lions star Jarrod Berry - his senior debut against the Dockers.
Berry, 20, joined his brother at the Gabba after the 2018 draft with pick no. 36 after playing for the Greater Western Victorian Rebels.
At 185cm and 76kg, Berry can swing between defence and the midfield and was a part of Brisbane's 2019 NEAFL premiership team.
Jarrod Berry has also been named in the Brisbane side on the interchange bench alongside his sibling.
Meanwhile, off-season recruits Grant Birchall and Callum Ah Chee are set to play their first game in Brisbane colours.
Four-time Hawthorn premiership player Birchall missed the Round 1 loss to the Hawks due to a hamstring injury while Ah Chee was traded from the Suns to the Gabba in the off-season and did not play in the season-opener due to illness.
DONS CONFIDENT HEPPELL WILL FACE SWANS
Essendon coach John Worsfold says he expects Dyson Heppell to play in Sunday's return match against Sydney, but concedes the captain is not fully over the line yet.
And the Bombers are also going to give forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti every chance to prove his fitness for the Round 2 clash at the SCG after initially fearing his injured ankle would rule him out.
Heppell missed the Bombers' Round 1 win over Fremantle as he continued his recovery from his latest round of foot surgery.
Worsfold said he was confident Heppell had the fitness behind him now to play out a full game, but the Bombers still had some considerations before clearing him to return.
"I do expect him to play, yes, but that doesn't guarantee that he is going to play," Worsfold said
"We've got to work through where his preparation is at and where it fits with the roles that we've been using different players in.
"I've got no doubt he could play a full game in the midfield."
Worsfold said McDonald-Tipungwuti's ankle had recovered a lot better than the club had expected after he injured it at training on Saturday.
A final call on his availability would be made as late as possible.
"He rolled his ankle just at the very end of our match play on Saturday morning and it was fairly sore, it was a good ankle tweak," Worsfold said.
"So we took precautions, sent him off for a scan and obviously put him in a moon boot and on crutches just to keep all his weight off it for the next 48 hours, but he presented really well yesterday."
Despite his unique build-up underpinned by isolation periods here and overseas, Worsfold said Irishman Conor McKenna was in great shape and available for selection but "not guaranteed of being in the side".
Worsfold said Jake Stringer had declared himself "ready to go" with no concern over his sore toe.
Worsfold was still unable to provide a clear timeline on spearhead Joe Daniher's return as he continues his recovery from groin surgery.