Collingwood are preparing for an AFL finals-like clash with North Melbourne, who will be stinging from their run of losses according to Magpies coach Nathan Buckley.
Collingwood are sitting 12th while the struggling Kangaroos have plummeted from top of the AFL ladder to eighth on the back of five successive losses.
Buckley says there’s a lot at stake at Etihad Stadium for both teams.
“We’re seeing it as a finals game, so we’ll definitely be coming with finals-like intensity,” Buckley said on Tuesday.
“We’re really content to put our reputations (on the line) and stake our claims in regard to that, so if you want to see a finals-type game then I reckon you should come along on Friday night.”
The Kangaroos’ latest loss was to resurgent Port Adelaide with star ruckman Todd Goldstein just one of their players to be upstaged.
Buckley believed they would be out to make a statement.
“Todd Goldstein and the focus that is on his performances, and on North’s generally, is something that will sting the Roos quite a bit,” Buckley said.
“We’re expecting them to be playing their best footy and to come out with a really strong intent.”
Buckley believed finals were still a possibility for his Magpies, despite themselves coming off a loss to Adelaide.
He said they couldn’t afford another costly first quarter as they did against the Crows, giving away five goals.
“We better win this weekend if we want to stay in the mix, but we’re not looking beyond Friday night,” he said.
“We were disappointed with our first 15 minutes against the Crows and we just didn’t execute the way we wanted to.
“Our effort and intensity was good on the opposition, but we need to be cleaner, we need to take our chances and we need to take away our opposition’s strengths.”
Alex Fasolo remains a chance for the Friday night match although a decision won’t be made about his injured shoulder until Thursday while Buckley said other players in the selection mix included Mason Cox, Ben Crocker, Jack Frost, Rupert Wills, Tom Phillips and Adam Oxley.