Magpies eye AFL response against Eagles

Finlay Macrae will make his debut in the AFL when Collingwood face West Coast in Perth.
Finlay Macrae will make his debut in the AFL when Collingwood face West Coast in Perth.

Collingwood will draw on last year's elimination final triumph against West Coast as they attempt to deliver another backs-to-the-wall performance in Perth to reinvigorate their stuttering AFL season.

The Magpies sit 1-3 after they slumped to an upset loss to Greater Western Sydney in round four, while vice-captain Taylor Adams (knee) and forward Jamie Elliott (fibula) are both on the sidelines for an extended period.

Coach Nathan Buckley conceded there was a question mark over Collingwood's "winning intent" and "edge" in the opening month while they needed to quickly address "ebbs and flows" in their contested-ball work.

"What the supporters want to see is what we want to see - which is the line between where you are now and where you're going," he said.

"You want it to be tracking up.

"We can't say that we've shown or displayed that in the first month.

"There's no doubt that we're capable of playing better footy and we want to be playing better footy.

"So we can only resurrect that with our actions. The words are going to be cheap at the moment."

The Magpies have a handy playbook for facing the Eagles on Friday night - last year's extraordinary one-point triumph at Optus Stadium.

"Last year was a really good performance for us but that was last year," Buckley said.

"This is a whole new ball game and we've got to look to find our connection as a team unit if we're to compete against anyone, full stop, and if we're to get the result this week.

"I'm sure we do (draw on that win) ... we do have recent really strong contested battles against the Eagles and we've obviously got fairly good memories of that elimination final.

"It was a really strong performance in a really close game so we'd love to replicate that."

Last year's draft pick No.19 Finlay Macrae, the younger brother of Western Bulldogs player Jack, will debut against West Coast but Buckley said the Magpies won't simply "play the kids" in a bid to reinvigorate their season.

Buckley wouldn't rule out throwing star defender Darcy Moore up front to provide greater contests forward of the ball, while the Magpies are considering calling upon ruck-forward Darcy Cameron to support Brodie Grundy against Nic Naitanui.

"No one's ever been able to find a way to get above (Naitanui's) hand in the centre-bounce in particular," Buckley said.

"So blunting that is half of the battle."

Australian Associated Press