Collingwood's Dayne Beams said his side are embracing their role as the hunters rather than the hunted ahead of the 2012 finals series.
The Magpies have entered the past two seasons as the team to beat - winning the minor premiership in both 2010 and 2011.
But on Friday night Collingwood will hold the unfamiliar position of underdogs against top finishers Hawthorn in their replay of last year's preliminary final.
Beams had a breakout season this year - moving more into the midfield to average over 31 disposals per game - and believes he, like Collingwood, is in a prime position ahead of this week's match.
"In a way I suppose the last couple of years we've probably been the hunted, I mean teams have come after us," Beams said.
"This year we've been probably not as in form as we have been in the last couple, so in a way were the hunters."
"It's something that sits fine with us, but were going to have to be at our best to produce this finals series."
Beams praised their opponent as a super side but said Collingwood will not be worried by their struggles to overcome Hawthorn so far this season.
"You know they've been super really and it's going to be a great challenge for us to get over them," Beams said.
"But I think finals are a different ball game, the intensity goes up, the pressure goes up, so if we can handle that better than they can, it'll go a long way towards winning the game."
"As a group we're confident we've played in finals the last few years and I think we've shown this year that when were at our best were pretty hard to beat."
Collingwood went down to Hawthorn by 47 points in round 17 and lost by 22 earlier in the season in their round one opener.
Beams conceded he has underperformed on the big stage in the past, but believes his strong form will give him the confidence he needs to rectify that.
"I don't think there's one sort of thing that motivates me, I mean if you're not motivated to play in a final's series, then not much is going to motivate you," he said."For me I haven't had the greatest finals series over recent years so that's my individual challenge, one I'm definitely looking forward to and I couldn't be better placed, I feel to be able to perform."