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Could Jamie Elliott’s Return to Fitness be the Key for Collingwood in 2019?

It’s been a hugely frustrating couple of years for Jamie Elliott. The classy forward has seen his career plagued by long-term injury and niggling fitness issues, but he finally looks to be back on track. The 26-year-old competed in his first senior game for almost 20 months on March 22nd, and despite a diminishing impact during the latter stages, he put in a terrific overall performance. His opening-day display prove that he’s lost very little of his ability during his extended spell on the sidelines. Could Elliott’s return be enough to fire Collingwood back to the AFL Grand Final in 2019?

Despite suffering an opening day defeat to Geelong, there were still plenty of positives to take from this early-season performance, and Jamie Elliott’s return to action will have undoubtedly given supporters plenty to smile about. The Cats remained competitive throughout the contest, but were undone in the fourth quarter by a superb interchange, which was finished off by Tom Hawkins. Tim Kelly and Patrick Dangerfield also impressed for the Pies, and they will be a force to be reckoned with throughout 2019.

2018 was a largely forgettable year for the Cats, who fell woefully short of their pre-season expectations. Despite the additions of the aforementioned Tim Kelly, as well as Jack Henry, Geelong’s inconsistent form at the MCG proved troublesome, and an eighth-place finish was deemed to be hugely underwhelming by fans and pundits alike. There were questions asked about Chris Scott’s approach for the finals, but he’s been given the opportunity to make amends for last season’s below-par displays, and the early signs have been largely positive.
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Collingwood are also likely to be contesting the end-of-season finals once again, and despite showing understandable signs of fatigue towards the end of the contest, Jamie Elliott’s performance points towards a potentially prolific season for the skillful and nimble forward. He notched the club’s first goal of the 2019 AFL season by muscling past Mark Blicavs before turning on the afterburners to give his side an early advantage. He added a second goal shortly afterwards before plundering a third just before half-time, and it gave the club a glimpse of what they’d been missing throughout the last twelve months.

His return should give the Pies some additional firepower, and it’s unsurprising to see them priced up as the second favourites in the Aussie rules betting at 7.00 to be victorious in the 2019 Grand Final. He is deadly with the ball, and although he is unlikely to win it back, he is surrounded by players who will do the dirty work for him. He is the kind of player who will get the fans on their feet, and the spring-heeled forward looks set to make a significant contribution this season, if he can stay fit.

His short-lived comeback in 2018 was curtailed by the recurrence of a hamstring injury, but he’s looked sharp throughout pre-season, and the Collingwood medical staff will be wrapping their star-man in cotton wool ahead of next week’s clash with Richmond.

Collingwood may have begun the 2019 season with a defeat, but their quest to bounce back from last year’s finals defeat is still very much alive. They have a hugely talented squad, and the return of Jamie Elliott gives them a significant boost. The 26-year old has already shown flashes of his ability, and he is likely to increasingly impact games as the season progresses. If he can stay away from the treatment table, the forward will be a real contender for this season’s Coleman Medal, and Collingwood will benefit enormously from having him back in the side.

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