Travis Varcoe has urged his Collingwood team-mates to make good on their early AFL season form on the eve of the Magpies’ biggest test this year.
The Magpies took flight on Wednesday to Perth to face league leaders Fremantle on Thursday night, with Varcoe full to the brim with confidence they can win in the west, just as Richmond did three weeks ago.
Varcoe said after studying the Tigers’ victory at Domain Stadium, the team had learned all they needed to earn an unlikely win.
“I think they gave the competition a blueprint on how to beat Freo,” he said.
“You’ve got to match them in the contest.
“We’ve got to try and match their intensity and their pressure around the ball.
“(Aaron) Sandilands is a dominant ruckman but we’ve got to match them around the midfield, just slow them down a bit and we’ll be fine.”
The Magpies can shore up their place in the AFL top four with a victory after taking an 8-3 record into the bye last week.
But if Collingwood’s record sounds familiar, it’s because it mirrors their opening half to the season last year.
In his third season as coach, Buckley had the Magpies sitting pretty at 8-3 before the rot set in, assisted by a cruel run of injuries.
The Magpies finished with an 11-11 season record, and missed playing in September by a game.
Varcoe, then with Geelong, said everyone at the club knew their early wins would count for nought if they suffered a similar collapse.
“It’s a long season (and) the first half is great but it means nothing if you don’t carry on with it,” he said.
“(Fremantle) is a big challenge for us as a group to see where we fit into the competition.”
Varcoe plays game 150 against the Dockers, with one of the competition’s best winning records in his career to date.
In 149 matches, Varcoe has sung the team song after 122 – over 80 per cent of matches.
Varcoe said he wasn’t aware of his record but he could joked he might use it should his fortunes dive.
“If I ever fall into a form slump I’ll be sliding that on onto Bucks’ table that’s for sure.”