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Nathan Buckley says Collingwood will definitely play AFL Final this year, rankings, analysis, reaction, stats

By on June 6, 2022 0

Nathan Buckley says there is “no doubt” Collingwood will make the finals in his first full season since leaving.

However, the reality of the scale means the Magpies can’t be entirely confident of a shock September 17 push.

Almost a year ago to the day, Buckley resigned as manager of the Magpies, for whom he played 260 senior games, and the team ended up finishing lower on the ladder than in any season former.

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But in his first year as senior AFL manager, Craig McRae breathed new life into the Magpies, who play a brand of electric footy under his guidance.

More recently, Collingwood held off a fast-finishing Hawthorn side to record their seventh win of the season and a top-eight finish.

The Magpies have now won three in a row and boast wins over Carlton, Fremantle and St Kilda – all of whom sit higher on the ladder.

The fixture could also work in Collingwood’s favor; the Magpies face just four teams in the top eight when they return home.

Nathan Buckley is full of praise for the Magpies. Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Collingwood’s form this season was enough to impress Buckley, who made a bold call to SEN on Monday morning.

“The Pies will be playing finals this year, there’s no doubt about that,” Buckley said.

“They will play the finals this year on the back of the form, on the back of the type of football.

“Apart from that loss to West Coast, which is almost unfathomable when you think about it, their form has been relatively consistent.

“They’ve been very consistent in midfield…the back six have been very consistent.”

But the Magpies’ percentage is only 12th best in the AFL – partly because, unlike the rest of the competition, they failed to build it with a huge win over the Eagles.

Because of this percentage problem, the Pies probably need to win one game more than any of the teams ahead of them (Geelong, St Kilda, Sydney or Carlton) to pass them on the ladder, while Richmond and the Bulldogs behind them also have a much stronger percentage.

And the runners-up in 2022 might need 13 wins, due to the success of the midfield teams this season.

Gold Coast (currently 6-6) have five games remaining against the last six, while Carlton (8-3), Sydney (8-4), Richmond (6-5) and the Western Bulldogs (6-5) all have four left, as do the Magpies 7-5.

Therefore, Collingwood will likely need to be on 11 or 12 wins by the time they reach the final month of the season, as they end the year against Port Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Carlton.

The likeliest path for the Magpies to reach 12 wins is to beat GWS, Gold Coast (away), North Melbourne, Adelaide and Essendon, with a 13th win over one of Carlton or Port Adelaide.

But the teams behind them either have clear paths to 12 wins too (Richmond, Gold Coast) or are just a better team (Bulldogs) so even if the Magpies play in the final is a very real possibility they can’t afford no slippage. -UPS.

And given that Richmond has a game in hand, they could be out of the eight on Friday morning anyway.

Jack Ginnivan (center) is a polarizing figure. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Melbourne legend Garry Lyon asked Buckley if the Magpies would be able to put enough points on the board to challenge the Premier’s heavyweights at the end of the season.

Collingwood scored more than 100 points only three times in its first 12 games, but scored the league’s sixth-most points overall.

Buckley said young strikers like Jack Ginnivan and Oliver Henry had proven they were indeed ready for the AFL and the team’s forward line had huge potential.

“The best Collingwoods were going to be able to put on the park if they had a good streak of injuries, if their experienced players were still there for them, there’s a skeleton to build,” he said.

“Young players are coming, so I think they will play finals this year.”