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Melbourne Football Club

Practice match with Collingwood locked in

Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media
Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media

THE DEBATE over the competition's No.1 ruckman will be fast-tracked to February as Brodie Grundy and Max Gawn prepare to face off in a scratch match at Olympic Park Oval.

Pending Grundy's return to full training following a toe complaint, the 2018 All Australian ruckmen will meet when Collingwood hosts Melbourne on the morning of Friday, February 22.

Magpies coach Nathan Buckley will be without Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom, Travis Varcoe and Jaidyn Stephenson, who have been selected to play AFLX later on Friday night at Marvel Stadium.

While Simon Goodwin loses Steven May and Tom McDonald to the one-night event, decisions will need to be made on Jack Viney (foot), Jake Melksham and Nathan Jones (hamstrings) and Clayton Oliver (shoulders).

Collingwood defenders Lynden Dunn and Matt Scharenberg and Demons star Jake Lever aren't expected to take part as they recover from ACL reconstructions.

The Pies and Demons will meet twice in 2019 – in rounds 12 and 21 – after just one match in 2018, a 42-point win for the Pies on Queen's Birthday.

On that day Gawn, who assumed the No.1 mantle in the All Australian side, collected 33 hitouts, 17 disposals and a goal against Grundy's 38 hitouts and 13 touches.

Match details

Collingwood v Melbourne
Olympic Park Oval
Friday, February 22, 10.00am (time subject to change)