Colosimo out of derby

Melbourne Heart have received a major blow on the eve of the inaugural Melbourne derby with skipper Simon Colosimo ruled out of the match with a neck injury.

Melbourne Heart have received a major blow on the eve of the inaugural Melbourne derby with skipper Simon Colosimo ruled out of the match with a neck injury.

Colosimo suffered the injury in the recent 4-0 loss to Brisbane and despite having an extra week to recover after the derby game was postponed, was unable to prove his fitness ahead of the much-anticipated first clash with Victory.

The 31-year-old said earlier in the week that he was desperate to play and that he believed he would prove his fitness but that now appears to have been wishful thinking, especially after team-mate Josip Skoko's revelation on Wednesday that Colosimo had been still struggling with stiffness in the neck.

Coach John van 't Schip said the club had sought medical advice on the risks of Colosimo playing and decided that despite the importance of the match, the club would err on the side of caution.

"Simon tried the past week to be ready for the game. But his injury is too risky. We had a good talk with the medical people and on the advice of them and what we saw on the pitch, we came to the conclusion that it was better for Simon not to play and to focus on the next game and try to get fit for that," he said.

"For the first week after the Brisbane game he (could) hardly do anything. He came on the pitch on Monday and he didn-t look that good. Yesterday he tried and was a little bit better already. But hearing of what the risks would be it wasn't the right thing to let him play."

"With his experience, Simon could maybe play at 80 or 90 percent, but he missed 11 days of training. We had to consider that as well."

It will be a bitter blow for the veteran defender, who was born in Melbourne and was relishing the chance to lead his Heart team in to battle against Victory, a team he has had a stormy relationship with in the past.

As recently as last year's Grand Final, Colosimo and coach Ernie Merrick had an on-field disagreement and while both parties have since claimed to have patched things up, tension still remains considering Colosimo's key role with Heart.

Matt Thompson will now don the captain's armband and lead the side onto the field for Friday's match, while he also appears the man most likely to fill Colosimo's role in the centre of the back four.

"When I came here last year and looked at the games, Matt was one of the players that impressed me a lot. His way of playing, his position on the field and of course who he is as a person, so that's important to me. He's a good choice for captain," van 't Schip said.