- from afl.com.au
COLLINGWOOD coach Nathan Buckley has all but confirmed marquee recruit Daniel Wells will not be fit for round one.
Wells, 32, has been troubled by an ongoing calf injury over the pre-season and is yet to appear in any JLT Community Series games.
Buckley said the Pies would not rush Wells back into the senior team for the sake of being ready for the opening game of the season against the Bulldogs on March 24.
"We're making the right calls for all our players, and part of the right call for Daniel would be to make sure that he's ready to go when we pull the trigger on him," Buckley told Fox Sports.
"It might not be in those early couple of rounds but when you see him he'll be ready."
Buckley said it was unfair to suggest the Magpies had made a mistake by signing the former Kangaroo to a three-year deal reportedly worth $1.8 million.
"He played 19 games for North last year and after a couple of injury-interrupted seasons we’re banking on getting some quality seasons out of Daniel Wells," he said.
"If we get 45-50 games from Daniel Wells over the next three years we’ll be very happy with that. I’ve got doubt he will make us better."
Jamie Elliott is another key Magpie racing the clock to be fit for the start of the season.
Elliott tweaked his ankle at training on February 20 and the timing of his return is still up in the air.
"Round one is still a couple of weeks away and we hope that he gets up for it," Buckley said.
"He's walking freely now and he'll start working back, putting load through his legs, running, changing direction next week.
"We think that he'll play match practice next Friday week and have a good solid week into round one.
"Then it'll be a judgment call for us on what game time we think he has the capacity to play, if in fact that is going to be the best mix for us going into the Bulldogs game."
Emerging midfielder Jordan De Goey was not picked for the Magpies' final pre-season hit-out against Richmond in Moe on Saturday.
De Goey has been in rehab for the past two weeks and it is understood he has been struggling with a quad issue. The 20-year-old was also hampered by a toe injury over the pre-season and his status for round one is uncertain.
Meanwhile, Buckley says Fremantle recruit Chris Mayne is in the mix for round one, but stopped short of declaring he was an automatic selection.
"There's always going to be some teething issues when a new player comes to a club,” Buckley said.
"Adam Treloar (Greater Western Sydney), Jack Crisp (Brisbane Lions), Taylor Adams (Greater Western Sydney), they all went through the same thing. They're established, important players for our club."