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The two Collingwood role players that have had unbelievable pre-seasons


Collingwood assistant coach Hayden Skipworth has been thrilled with the pre-season performances of a couple of Magpie role players this summer.

One player who’s caught the eye in all of the intra-club, scratch match and in Tuesday’s Community Series clash against Richmond where he kicked two goals and collected 23 disposals is Pat Lipinski.

Lipinski had a down year in 2023 despite ending with a premiership medal to his name as he suffered two shoulder surgeries and failed to recapture the footy that he played in 2022.

Early signs in 2024 suggest Lipinski could even play better than he did when he first arrived at the club, and Skipworth believes that’s down to him achieving peak fitness and increasing his contested work now that his shoulder troubles are behind him.

“Pat Lipinski has had an unbelievable pre-season,” Skipworth told SEN Afternoons.

“What people might forget is he had some really serious shoulder injuries last year.

“He came back and then he probably didn't get the pre-season and the games that the other guys did, so he was playing catch up all year.

“He did well to get back in the team and contribute to us back in the year.

“But we know what he's capable of and he's an exceptional player for us.

“His running ability and his ball use is at an all-time high at the moment.

“His contest stuff, which probably was a thing that dropped away a little bit after his shoulder last year, but that's come back and he's looking really strong around the ball.”

Another role player that’s stood out is Will Hoskin-Elliott, with the forward-turned-defender taking 12 marks to go with 24 disposals on Tuesday against Richmond off half-back.

Skipworth – who coached the side in Craig McRae’s absence on Tuesday – loved the role that the 30-year-old plays as it allows greater flexibility for some of the side’s big guns on-ball.

“As for Will Hoskin-Elliott, he's one of the guys that we sort of speak about playing a role,” Skipworth said.

“He plays forward, wing and back for us and enables us to move guys like Nick Daicos around.

“He’s very much a team guy and it's great to see him find a bit more of a niche down back.

“I think that suits him. It’s very much a system-based defence and he basically plays the system to a tee.”

Collingwood now gears up for an Opening Round clash against GWS at GIANTS Stadium on Saturday, March 9.


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