Collingwood co-captain Madi Robinson is set to miss their opening Super Netball clash against champions Sunshine Coast on Saturday due to a lingering knee injury.
The former Diamonds midcourter damaged knee ligaments in a pre-season tournament late last month and will undergo further testing this week with the injury still causing her problems.
The Magpies, who only won three games last season en route to a seventh-placed finish, have a new coach in former NSW Swifts mentor Rob Wright.
They have also had a big player turnover, losing Erin Bell, Caitlin Thwaites and retired defender Sharni Layton and bringing in exciting young Jamaican shooter Shimona Nelson, Kelsey Browne, Natalie Medhurst and former Lightning skipper Geva Mentor.
Wright said it was disappointing to lose Robinson, who called time on her international career last year to focus on reviving the Magpies.
"It's been problematic for a little while," Wright said of her knee.
"We don't know yet if she requires surgery as we've been working hard trying to rehab her so we'll see where we are at at the end of the week."
But Wright, who took the Swifts to grand finals in 2015 and 2016, felt comfortable they had the talent to cover her loss in Australian players Ash Brazill, Kim Ravaillion and Lightning recruit, Robinson's sister Kelsey Browne.
"One of the things that's been a talking point is that we picked four midcourters who are really all starters ... so if anything happens we're really solid.
"Everyone of them is a gun."
Wright said he felt the team had the ability to make finals, as they did in 2017 when they finished fourth before being eliminated in week one.
"I'm sure every coach says this but I'm sure this team is capable of playing finals - that's probably a pass mark for us," Wright said.
"However it's probably the first year in this comp where you're not sure who's going to win it and who's going to finish eighth - it's that even."
The Magpies' match against the Lightning is part of a double header at Melbourne Arena with the Melbourne Vixens and Queensland Firebirds the first match on court.
Australian Associated Press