Star Collingwood wingman Dale Thomas is set to play his first game since early May, marked for a return through the VFL on Saturday.


After finally overcoming an ankle injury Thomas is primed for a run with Collingwood’s VFL team against Sandringham.

Magpies coach Nathan Buckley said Thomas was “excellent” during the team’s main training session on Tuesday and he had maintained his fitness during the long layoff.

“The likelihood is that he’ll play VFL this week,” Buckley told the Collingwood website.

“All tests to this point have him thereabouts.”

Ruckman Darren Jolly is also putting his hand up to play in Friday night’s AFL blockbuster against Hawthorn at the MCG after overcoming a knee injury.

Jolly hasn’t played for a fortnight but according to his coach impressed in training.

In his absence youngster Brodie Grundy stood up strongly in Collingwood’s 29-point win over Sydney on Saturday night.

“We expect our big units to be animals and have a bit of white line fever,” Buckley said of Grundy.

“He’s a different cat off the field but on it he’s a massive competitor.”

Buckley said a decision on which ruckmen would be used for the remainder of the season would be made on a “horses for courses” basis.

Buckley said that veteran Alan Didak had been given compassionate leave and was with an ill friend in Adelaide.

“He asked for personal leave and we granted that late last week,” he said.

“He’ll be back at training on Thursday and will look to play (VFL) this week.

“He played a couple of really good VFL matches (before heading to Adelaide) so he’s thereabouts.

“Hell look to hit the ground running next week and well see where we go from there.”