AAP AFL

Pies, Tigers planning AFL scratch match

By AAP Newswire

Fringe Collingwood and Richmond players will battle in a scratch match ahead of next Thursday night's AFL season reboot.

The powerful Victorian clubs are planning to pit their reserves teams against each other in coming days to ensure crucial match practice for players outside the best 22.

With AFL players barred from featuring in second-tier competitions this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the league has given approval for teams to organise matches between themselves.

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley confirmed there would be a match before the AFL teams relaunch the season at the MCG.

"We will have a practice match against Richmond," he told reporters.

"We're not sure if curtain-raisers are going to be allowed, the AFL is still in the process of letting us know if that's going to happen.

"We think it's very important for the players not selected at AFL level to be able to get match practice in.

"They want to be able to put their hand up and stake their claim to be selected.

"For their wellbeing and motivation levels, it's really important for them to be able to play."

It could open the door for former Sydney big man Darcy Cameron to make his Collingwood debut with ruck-forward Mason Cox struggling to overcome knee issues.

The giant American won't take to the field in Collingwood's intraclub match on Thursday, but should return to full training by Monday.

Buckley revealed Cameron was about to debut for an injured Brody Mihocek in their scheduled match against Richmond in March before the season was halted.

Mihocek has made a full recovery during the competition, but Buckley is still considering picking Cameron.

"Darcy has slowly worked on his forward craft and his capacity to play as a tall forward for us," Buckley said.

"He understands he might get stuck in behind (Brodie Grundy) if he's simply pigeon-holed as a ruckman."

Dangerous forward Jaidyn Stephenson is pushing for a recall after an interrupted pre-season saw him sit out the Magpies' round one demolition of the Western Bulldogs.

Buckley said defender Tom Langdon was slowly recovering from serious knee issues but is unlikely to return to full training anytime soon.