Don’t try telling Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley his AFL side has nothing to play for in August.
An inconsistent season means the Magpies are no chance of clambering into the top eight before finals start.
But Saturday’s upset 19-point win over last year’s grand finalists West Coast suggests motivation will be no issue in the last four rounds of the year.
“We want to finish the season off really strongly,” Buckley said.
“Our supporters would leave the game (against the Eagles) pretty happy with seeing the 22 that represented the club.
“They’ve been tested at times over recent years and probably earlier this season.
“And for various reasons we haven’t been able to reward the faith as quickly as they would have liked, or we would have liked for that matter.”
The Magpies haven’t finished in the top eight since losing an elimination final to Port Adelaide in 2013.
But on current form they should defeat Richmond in round 20 and provide finals-bound Western Bulldogs a serious challenge in round 21.
Buckley was full of praise for the club’s youngsters and leaders, suggesting it bode well for 2017.
“We’ve got great belief of what we’re capable of,” he said.
Rupert Wills laid 11 tackles against the Eagles – more than any other player on debut in the game’s history.
“Our 39th player for the year .. we’ve got some young guys that are coming up and they’re well led,” Buckley said.
“When you have 11 tackles you send a message to your teammates that you’re in for the fight.”