Having missed the entire 2016 and 2018 seasons through injury, Elliott got back to kick 26 goals from 16 matches last season, leading both Melbourne and the Lions to offer him three-year deals, as opposed to a two-year deal from the Pies. Elliott said he was optimistic Collingwood would be able to maximise his chances of staying on the park.
“I wanted the best for my body, and [asked myself] ‘was that at Collingwood?’ I think I’ve made the right decision to stay. It’s very settled there, whereas if I move clubs, obviously I’ve got to meet new medical staff, and they’ve got to get to know my body. That was one reason why I stayed. Family are very close here, that was another [factor]. But at the end of the day I love the club and I want to ultimately win a premiership. I feel like we’re in a really good window now and had a really good opportunity to do that.”
Days out from Collingwood’s final Marsh Community Series match against St Kilda in Morwell on Sunday, Elliott – who missed the best part of two months last year with a hamstring issue – said his body was feeling good and that he had been training more in the midfield than in previous years, a possible portent of regular stints up the ground.
“This is probably the first pre-season since after my back operation [in 2016] that I’ve put together a really good pre-season where I’ve been managed really well in terms of loads and volumes. I’ve had a really strong pre-season. I haven’t been flogged but at the same time I’ve had big exposures to high kilometre sessions, sprint sessions. It’s holding up really well.”
Sunday’s match in bushfire-affected Gippsland holds particular significance for Elliott with his hometown of Euroa having come under threat during the summer. He urged fans to make the trip to Morwell to support regional towns via the ‘Empty Esky’ campaign which is a national tourism movement aiming to support small businesses affected by Australian fires.
“There was a small fire just outside of Euroa but it blew away to the east and didn’t affect the town which was good, but people did have to evacuate. It’s scary. I was looking at photos and videos but it didn’t actually hit home until I actually got a phone call from my sister which said they were actually at Euroa. And I was like this is bigger than I thought.”