Collingwood will resume its 2024 VFL season with a crucial clash against cross-town rivals Carlton on Sunday at Ikon Park.

The Pies observed a league-wide bye last week after starting the year with a win over Sandringham, followed by a close loss against Brisbane.

The squad used the week off to refresh and will now face a Blues team who have played only one match so far this season.

The game is part of four away matches for the Pies to start the year, as they aim to get back on the winner's list in their third game of the season.

Last time they met                                                             

The Pies triumphed by 28 points last time they took on the Blues in Round 19 last year, with a host of familiar faces performing strongly.

Ash Johnson and Nathan Kreuger combined for seven goals, with the former contributing four of those.

Josh Carmichael collected 28 disposals in the game at Victoria Park, while Campbell Lane had 24 touches.

Aiden Begg and Oscar Steene combined for 33 hit outs that day, with the ruck duo set to play their first game of 2024 together on Sunday.

Team news

Favourite son Ben Crocker will play his first game for the Club since July 2019 as he pulls on the black and white again this weekend.

The 27-year-old will line up against his old side after spending the past three seasons with Carlton’s VFL team.

Crocker is part of four inclusions following the game against Brisbane a fortnight ago, with Steene, AFL-listed midfielder Finlay Macrae and VFL-listed defender Cooper Macdonald also coming into the side.

Steene is yet to play a game in 2024 after suffering both concussion and a fractured jaw in last month’s practice match against Port Melbourne, while Macrae has played three games at AFL level and none at VFL level so far this year.

Macdonald will play his first game of the season after joining the Pies over the summer as one of the inclusions to the backline, after Sam Sofronidis and Jakob Ryan both succumbed to injuries over the past two weeks.

In: Ben Crocker, Cooper Macdonald, Finlay Macrae, Oscar Steene

Out: Chad Mulvogue, Liam Purcell, Jakob Ryan, Sam Sofronidis

The season so far  

While they’ve only played two matches, there have been many positives for the Pies so far in 2024.

A fantastic team win kick-started the season in Round One against Sandringham, with the Pies overcoming a five-goal first quarter by the Zebras to run out 28-point winners.

A trip to Brisbane ensued on Good Friday with the two sides battling out a thrilling contest, with an eight-goal final term by the Magpies not quite enough to secure victory as they fell short by two points.

Joe Richards sits at the top of the league goal-kickers' table with nine for the season from two games, while Tom Wilson and Jack Hutchinson have kicked three each for the year.

Ned Long has been one of the sides strongest performers in the midfield, racking up 25 and 28 disposals respectively in the two matches, to go with an average of 11.5 tackles per game.  

Ikon Park history

The game will be the first time Collingwood and Carlton’s standalone reserves teams have played each other at the Blues’ traditional home venue since 2000.

With both clubs going through affiliations during the 21st century – Collingwood’s with Williamstown between 2001-2007 and Carlton’s with the Northern Bullants between 2002-2020 – games between the Pies and Blues have been sparse.

Since the Blues returned as a standalone VFL team in 2021, the Pies have only played them at Victoria Park or the MCG, making Sunday’s game a 24-year first.

The likes of Oleg Markov, Harvey Harrison, Charlie Dean, Ash Johnson and Finlay Macrae will be familiar with the venue having played there in the Club’s Community Series practice match against Richmond earlier this year, however for many it will be their first game at the ground.

How can I watch? 

The game will be broadcast live and free on Channel 7 on Sunday in the team’s first free-to-air game of the season.

Coverage will start at 2:00pm AEST, with the first bounce scheduled for 2:05pm AEST.

Entry is $10 to Ikon Park.

Sunday, April 14

Carlton v Collingwood
Ikon Park, Wurundjeri
2:05pm (AEST)