No hurry on Jolly's AFL return: Malthouse - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No hurry on Jolly's AFL return: Malthouse

Greg Buckle 12/05/2011 06:55:12 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood AFL coach Mick Malthouse says there's no hurry to get premiership ruckman Darren Jolly back into the team.

Jolly, who has played four of a possible six games this season, is battling a chronic knee injury.

The 29-year-old might be back next week - or he might not.

The Magpies are going into Friday's top-of-the-table clash with Geelong with 48-game player Cameron Wood in the first ruck against Geelong's dual premiership player Brad Ottens.

Both sides have made unbeaten starts in 2011 which means the Magpies have some room to experiment, according to Malthouse.

"While Cameron Wood's developing and growing in confidence, we don't have to (recall Jolly)," Malthouse said on Thursday.

"When you're in a position when you've got wins in the back pocket, there is no panic.

"We've got to test the group. If it means giving him (Jolly) two or three more weeks than he needs, that's going to be the case."

Jolly, a premiership player with Sydney and the Magpies, is in his second season at Collingwood but there might not be many left.

"That might prolong his career into 2012 or 2013," Malthouse said.

"If we rush him back, it may not.

"We're not in a situation where we need to jump up and down and say we've got to get him back in the side."

Malthouse said there was no immediate concern over Jolly's fitness.

"Not at all. We know exactly what's wrong with him," the coach said.

The Magpies mentor is also strongly backing Wood to prove himself worthy of finals football as a back-up to Jolly.

Two weeks ago, Western Bulldogs ruckman Will Minson had 56 hitouts and Wood had 29 and the Dogs won the hitouts 65-38 overall, but the Magpies won the clearances 53-45.

"Cameron Wood, he has stood up very well," Malthouse said.

"Darren Jolly's a very important player to us, but no less than Cameron Wood because he is backing up very well for us."

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