Rookie-list elevation Jack Frost is set to get his chance earlier than he expected, as the task of shutting down North Melbourne's tall forwards moves firmly into focus for Collingwood ahead of Sunday's season-opener.
Frost was only added to the Pies senior list a week ago, but is likely to make his debut against the Roos at Etihad Stadium after emerging as a standout during the pre-season.
The 21-year-old is in line for a call-up to help cover a host of injuries the Pies have been forced to manage, with Dale Thomas (ankle), Alan Didak (hamstring), Alex Fasolo (hamstring), Luke Ball (knee), Lachie Keeffe (knee) and Andrew Krakouer all ruled out for round one.
That there is a specific need for a third tall defender against North is the other reason Frost has come so quickly into the frame, with the Pies fully aware of the damage Roos triple threat Drew Petrie, Lachlan Hansen and Robbie Tarrant can inflict when they are all working in unison.
The three tall forwards combined for eight goals in round 21 against the Magpies as North finally broke through for a win against the Pies for the first time in five attempts.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said Frost, an athletic defender at 194 cms, had shown he had the cool head and timing needed to play on key forwards at the highest level.
"One of the most positive aspects of our pre-season was the emergence of a couple of our rookie-list players," Buckley said.
"Jack Frost has proven his ability to shut down tall defenders with the absence [in the pre-season] of Nathan Brown and Ben Reid at times," he said.
Collingwood was pleased to secure Frost with its second selection in this year's rookie draft after scouting his strong showings in the VFL finals last year playing for Williamstown.
Frost, who will wear No.45 for the Pies this season, spent the first half of last year recovering from two hip operations, but his impressive end to 2012 was not lost on the Pies.
One of the key defender spots is likely to be taken by former All-Australian Ben Reid despite his limited interrupted pre-season.
Buckley said Reid had recovered from his knee complaint and would be available to play against the Roos, as would first-choice ruckman Darren Jolly and forward Tyson Goldsack.
However Buckley ruled out the possibility of the Pies going in with two ruckmen.
Thomas and Krakouer will play for Collingwood's VFL team in a curtain raiser to Thursday night's Carlton-Richmond blockbuster at the MCG.