Whether Travis Cloke plays for Collingwood against Carlton this weekend or not has been a major AFL talking point all week and the Blues have two plans for the Pies – one with Cloke, one without.
Brendon Bolton’s men take on Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday night and will be looking for their first clean sweep of the Pies since the 2012 season.
In-form defender Sam Docherty says his teammates have studied their round-seven win over Collingwood, but that Nathan Buckley’s side are a different proposition now.
Cloke, who is in danger of being dropped for a third time this season, didn’t play in that game and Docherty admitted he was unsure if he would line up for the Pies this time around.
“You plan for both … it is a bit of a mystery whether he plays or whether they go for a bit of a different mix,” Docherty said.
“We’ve just got to plan for all outcomes and as it gets closer, we’ll really nut down to who’s playing and how we can defeat them.”
On the injury front, skipper Marc Murphy is still three weeks away from an AFL return, with his ankle injury healing slower than expected.
Murphy strained ligaments in his right ankle early in the Blues’ round-10 upset win over Geelong and it was initially hoped he would miss two to three weeks.
But the club confirmed this week that he will miss another three games, which would put him in the frame to return in round 18 against Sydney at ANZ Stadium.
“Murph’s still out with his ankle … he’s progressing OK, a little bit slow, but he’s still another three weeks away before he’s ready to go,” football chief Andrew McKay told the club’s website.
Carlton will also be without Dennis Armfield for another two weeks as he recovers from surgery to repair a ruptured testicle.
Irishman Ciaran Sheehan’s run of bad luck continued with hamstring surgery ruling him out for the rest of the season.