Things could get emotional at Etihad Stadium tonight.
Euroa talent Jamie Elliott is making his comeback to football after more than a year ruined by injury as Collingwood faces off with Essendon in the opening game of the pre-season JLT Community Series.
The high-flying goal-kicker had serious back surgery, placing some doubt over a promising AFL career.
‘‘When we get to the JLT Series and round one, I am sure when I walk on the ground, there will be a tear flowing,’’ Elliott, 24, said after an intra-club game.
‘‘To be honest, I didn’t know what was going to happen. I had good days and bad days; I still do.
‘‘But I am finding a way to manage my back in terms of preparation and recovery leading into training sessions, having a day in between main training sessions, but it has been a slow build.
‘‘Now it feels just good to get out my first hit-out.’’
The Magpies sorely missed Elliott last year, with the forward not playing a game after booting 35 goals during the 2015 season.
He has kicked 104 goals in 72 AFL games and his explosive attributes in the forward line have made him a favourite of Collingwood supporters.
Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury was delighted Elliott was back after seeing what his teammate had gone through.
‘‘I think everyone had concerns that he wasn’t going to get back,’’ Pendlebury said.
‘‘He was pretty nervous at the time. Any time you have to go and have back surgery, it’s pretty scary.
‘‘Since day one of the pre-season, he’s been back out here. You can just see the love of football he’s got.
‘‘He appreciates it that much more now that he’s had 12 months out, so we’re looking forward to him coming back.’’
Fellow Goulburn Valley product Steele Sidebottom has also been named in the Magpies’ squad for the clash with Essendon.
Mansfield rookie James Cousins was yesterday named in Hawthorn’s squad to play Geelong tomorrow night after the Hawks picked him in last year’s draft.