Collingwood star Jordan De Goey has declared himself a round one starter in attack as he flies through his recovery from an injured foot.
After hobbling from match simulation 17 days ago with a midfoot sprain, De Goey again trained strongly on Monday, now eyeing a hit-out before the Pies' season opener against Geelong.
The Pies face Carlton in their second JLT series match in Morwell on March 11, with another option a VFL practice match against Coburg on March 15 – seven days before round one.
"My progress has been going pretty well so I'm a bit further down the track than we expected," De Goey said.
"I was out there for a couple of hours, so it was just good to get some fitness and get stuck back into it, but I'm confident in the ankle.
"I think that's (round one) pretty much a go at this stage."
"I'm definitely confident and I know everyone else is. It's just about making sure my fitness is back up to scratch and get hopefully a practice match in before the game obviously."
Serving club-imposed suspensions in the past two seasons due to drink-driving and a separate off-field fight that led to a broken hand, De Goey's return will mark his first round one appearance since 2016.
And as he continues to build fitness, De Goey is poised to start the season in a permanent forward role.
"It's been a while since I've played round one so I'm looking forward to that, although it's an injury I think I'm looking pretty positive at this stage and I think the club is as well."
"It's pretty tough at the moment, we have a star-studded midfield. For me personally it's about getting my fitness up to scratch.
"I reckon maybe at the start of the year I'll play a bit more forward, but once I build that base I hopefully can be in the midfield a little bit more."