Collingwood might have pulled off one of their greatest AFL finals wins, but the Magpies had no trouble quickly putting it aside.
Not given a hope against West Coast in front of a parochial Optus Stadium crowd, Nathan Buckley’s team exacted some revenge for their devastating 2018 grand-final loss by ending the Eagles’ season.
While some Magpie greats described the thrilling one-point elimination final win as good as anything they had seen, there is a determination to back it up in Saturday night’s semi-final against Geelong at the Gabba.
No team has won an AFL premiership from eighth so Collingwood will continue to be underdogs as long as they remain in the finals race.
Buckley said when Collingwood returned to Queensland on Sunday, families who hadn’t travelled to Perth were still adamant on celebrating.
“We had a bit of an awkward situation,” he told reporters.
“The people who weren’t in the travelling party met us as our bus pulled up, and (there was) excitement for them to see us.
“We had sort of already moved on by then and thinking about the next week.
That probably brought into light how quickly the group involved had moved on.
“Even with our travel back we were already thinking about taking lessons out of the game.”
Collingwood’s recent record against the Cats is impressive; winning last year’s qualifying final and the only home-and-away clash between the teams in 2020.
While the Cats misfired again last week, taking their finals record since 2011 to 4-12, Buckley is aware of how dangerous Chris Scott’s team can be.
“I really do think that home-and-away form in 2020 is hard to gauge,” he said.
“We know Geelong are the best contested ball side, consistently, throughout the home-and-away.
“They’re strong in the contest as any team we will face and that’s where the major challenge will lie for us.”
Buckley says big man Darcy Cameron is a chance to remain in the team to help Brodie Grundy despite Geelong’s ruck stocks not being anywhere near as strong as the Eagles’.
Cameron played an important role in helping Grundy go head-to-head with All-Australian ruckman Nic Naitanui.