Collingwood star Harry O’Brien is set to return to Melbourne, but there is no guarantee he will be back at the AFL club on Monday.
Magpies coach Nathan Buckley remains guarded on O’Brien amid speculation the pair had an argument last week.
O’Brien missed Friday night’s stirring 40-point win over Carlton because of an ankle injury.
But there has been speculation since Thursday night about O’Brien having a disagreement with his coach.
The Magpies gave O’Brien the weekend off and Buckley told Triple M on Saturday he will meet with the All-Australian utility once he returns to Melbourne from Port Douglas on Sunday.
“We’ll catch him on Sunday and we’ll see where we go from there,” Buckley said.
Asked if O’Brien would be back at the club on Monday, Buckley said “not definitely”.
Buckley has not denied he had an argument with O’Brien, but also will not confirm the speculation.
“I won’t be discussing it at all,” he said.
“I have questions and comments and discussions and topics with players internally every day of every.
“The issue with Harry or any issue with any other players will remain in-house.”
Buckley added O’Brien was given time off after the player was ruled out because of the injury.
“The doc has confirmed that Harry had floating bone from an injury sustained two or three weeks ago,” he said.
“After that we spoke to H and H chose and we agreed on giving him a couple of days off.”
Buckley denied media reports claiming a rift with O’Brien had been a distraction.
“I’ve been really focused on the 22 players we’ve got going in tonight,” Buckley said post-match.
“I think what it shows is, regardless of the ‘who’, when we get the ‘how’ right we’re pretty good.
“The 22 that represented the club tonight did fantastically well.”
The Magpies recovered from a slow start to outwork the Blues 17.16 (118) to 12.5 (77) in front of 78,224 fans.
Collingwood improved their win-loss record to 9-5, while the Blues (6-8) sit at least two games outside the top eight.
Travis Cloke and Ben Reid kicked five and four goals respectively, while Dane Swan had 41 possessions and Scott Pendlebury picked up 33 disposals.
Buckley pointed out his side boasted seven of the youngest eight players on the field.
“Carlton have eight top-10 draft picks, and we have four,” he said.
“Some scribes were saying during the week that they’ve had a better season than us.
“It’s not about Carlton versus Collingwood, but I reckon it’s time for a reality check. We’re doing all right.”
Carlton slumped to their heaviest loss of the season, after having booted seven first-quarter goals and leading by 28 points late in the opening term.