Magpies priming themselves for boilover

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley is priming his team for a boilover against West Coast.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley is priming his team for a boilover against West Coast.

Forget about underdog status, talk of slow ball movement and caravan life - Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley says his team is primed to cause a boilover in Saturday night's elimination final against West Coast.

The Magpies are widely tipped to be sent packing from the premiership race at Optus Stadium this week, but Buckley has other ideas.

Collingwood have averaged just 56.8 points per game this season to be ranked 13th in attack and have been criticised for a perceived slow ball movement and handball-happy nature.

Some of their staff have even been forced to live in caravans this week due to their resort in Joondalup not having enough habitations to fit the one-person-per-room quarantine rules.

"Sorry I'm late, it's a bit of a walk from the caravans," Buckley joked ahead of his scheduled video press conference on Thursday, before adding: "Only joking, I wouldn't be in a caravan."

But Buckley was dead serious when talking about his team's chances of winning and giving West Coast's star-studded midfield some "headaches" of their own.

West Coast thumped Collingwood by 66 points in Perth earlier this year, with spearhead Josh Kennedy booting seven goals in a formidable team tally of 18.3 (111).

Collingwood's highest score this year was the 13.8 (86) they scored in their round-one win over the Bulldogs.

But Buckley said the contested nature of finals football meant a high score might not be necessary to beat the Eagles.

"In terms of the score you need, you need a point more than your opposition," Buckley said.

"I've got no doubt that we can produce and we can give a great account of ourselves and ultimately win the game of football."

Buckley knows his team's ball movement is still a work in progress, but he was quick to challenge the perception Collingwood don't play-on often enough.

"That's where there's a misread with our ball movement," he said.

"We're one of the faster mark/play-on sides of the competition and have been for the second half of the year.

"We have been called slow and stagnant with our ball use, but we actually play on from a mark - statistically - in the top four in the second half of the year."

Buckley didn't buy into the theory that Collingwood had drawn the short straw by being forced to travel to Perth and quarantine for seven days before taking on the Eagles.

"It seems to me that everyone is looking to hate on quite a bit at the moment due to the circumstances of the world," he said.

"But in our little bubble here we're pollyannas, it's quite positive in here."

Buckley confirmed Chris Mayne has recovered from a fractured cheekbone and would be in the selection mix.

West Coast are expected to welcome back Luke Shuey (hamstrings), Jack Redden (thumb), Jeremy McGovern (hamstring) and Jamie Cripps.

Australian Associated Press