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Scharenberg begins road back to Pies action
Collingwood's top draft pick Matthew Scharenberg will begin his road to the big league by making his long-awaited VFL debut following injury. Last year's number-six draft pick is yet to make his debut for the senior side after being forced to undergo surgery on both feet earlier this year, and the Magpies have taken their time in introducing the youngster back into full training. The 18-year-old has built up his running program over the past month and has now convinced the Magpies management he is ready to make his first VFL debut.
The teenager was forced to miss the end of this season with SANFL club Glenelg, and was also sidelined for last year's NAB AFL Draft Combine, with the highly-rated youngster struggling with sesamoiditis, something which first began troubling Scharenberg during pre-season. With the Magpies believed to have ruled out any chance of introducing their star draft pick into the senior side this season, the VFL will give the club an opportunity to control how much football he plays between now and the end of the year.
While the bet365 odds show that Collingwood have been written off by a lot of people, there is still some hope among this squad that this season still has a couple of twists and turns in it yet. That said, the Pies will be well aware that they need to start producing some consistent results in they are going to have a realistic chance of coming out of this season with something to show for it.
The South Australian earned rave reviews before this year's draft, with Mark Williams describing Scharenberg as the best schoolboy talent he had seen since Wayne Carey. Capable of keeping a cool head in the middle of battle, the 18-year old is boasts impressive disposal and creative talents. His eye-catching performances in the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships resulted in him earning back-to-back All Australian selections in 2012/13, finishing runner up in the Larke Medal for best player in Division One.
Scharenberg will now return from the club's long-term injury list to the senior squad, with defender Jack Frost - who was originally promoted for Scharenberg - now called up for veteran ruckman Ben Hudson following his shoulder injury. Kyle Martin has been called up to replace Nathan Brown after his season was cut short following his shoulder operation. The mature-age rookie has been in sensational form in the VFL this year and is now in-line to earn an extended run in the first team following Brown's injury.
Collingwood have certainly made Martin work for his place in the senior side, only calling him up after he racked up an average of 26 disposals in the VFL - producing performances that saw him singled out by opposing players for some rough treatment in a bid to keep him out of the game. Martin will now be looking to add to his four appearances for the Collingwood senior side after making his debut against the Brisbane Lions last season.