Pies face tough task in AFL finals

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley says West Coast likely feel confident about their next game.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley says West Coast likely feel confident about their next game.

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley concedes his side needs to show significant improvement if it is to advance past the first week of the AFL finals series.

A daunting elimination final looms for the Magpies against West Coast in Perth after they succumbed to minor premiers Port Adelaide on Monday night.

A win would have seen Collingwood avoid the flight west and instead take on St Kilda on neutral turf.

But Buckley was left lamenting execution errors, poor decision making and an inability to get on top at the contest after what could prove to be a costly 16-point defeat to the Power.

"They were very good inside, in particular at clearance and at centre bounce, which gave them a lot of territory," he said.

"We weren't good enough to be able to handle that for long enough.

"If that is the best team in the comp - and the ladder shows that they are - then we're either not far away or a long way away.

"It's quite marginal in the contest but we'll get some learnings out of that."

Collingwood and West Coast have a storied history of heart-stopping finals contests, including the Eagles' gripping 2018 grand final triumph.

But their last meeting resulted in a massive 66-point blowout win to West Coast at Optus Stadium in round eight.

"That was a significant loss and they'd be pretty confident coming up against us, I would've thought," Buckley said.

Collingwood will reap some benefit from having spent time in Perth earlier this season at the same Joondalup resort where they will serve a seven-day quarantine period before their elimination final.

"It doesn't hurt," Buckley said.

"We'll be familiar with the accommodation and we'll be familiar with the ground that we trained at."

Australian Associated Press