There was weirdness aplenty before the ball was even bounced in Collingwood's clash with the Gold Coast Suns on Saturday afternoon.
The embattled Magpies have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons after their somewhat poor start to the 2021 season - but Saturday afternoon started on a much lighter note.
'JUST LISTEN': AFL coach in testy exchange with journalists
It began when the Magpies' fifth debutant of the season, teenager Caleb Poulter, was handed a framed poster and his game jumper by midfielder Jack Crisp.
The youngster was mobbed by his excited teammates afterwards - evidently too excited, as the glass frame shattered when Poulter was mobbed.
Key forward Darcy Moore appeared to stroll right across the dangerous debris, prompting head coach Nathan Buckley to crack a joke when he was interviewed prior to the game.
“That’s how tough Darcy Moore is. I think it was Beau McCeery who broke the glass and he does break things so I’m happy for him to go about that all day," Buckley said.
The gaffes weren't over there though, with the Magpies' cheer squad opting to pay a cheeky homage to a viral spelling error they made back in 2018.
The squad went viral a few years ago after misspelling 'tonight' as 'tonihgt' on the banner prior to a match against Carlton.
The team went on to win that match in 2018, with the cheer squad turning to a bit of superstition in the hopes of lighting a fire under their ailing team.
"Last time we did this it went alright, so show these Suns we own 'tonihgt'," read the banner as the Magpies ran through, much to the amusement of footy fans on social media.
Anything to take the attention off the coach ;)
— Klopp - SuperCoach (@NotoriousRedmen) May 1, 2021
Buckley, Magpies still eyeing AFL finals
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley is "absolutely" aligned with new club president Mark Korda's belief that finals are still on the agenda for the struggling AFL side this season.
The spotlight has intensified on out-of-contract Buckley after the Magpies slumped to a 1-5 record with defeat to arch-rivals Essendon on Anzac Day.
They enter a crunch clash with Gold Coast at the MCG on Saturday facing significant issues around poor ball use and the availability of key players.
Despite the tough start to the season, Korda this week declared the Magpies could still recover to qualify for the top eight.
Buckley on Wednesday left no doubt he is on the same page.
"Whilst there's a lot of big-picture talk externally, all our conversations are about how we're going to present as best we possibly can and win a game of footy on Saturday afternoon," Buckley said.
"(We're up) against a side who knocked over, quite convincingly, one of the buzz teams of the first three or four rounds, so we've got our hands full now.
"We've lowered our eyes to make sure that we make the most of our next opportunity because looking after that as best we possibly can is going to give us the chance to qualify and contend, whether it's in the short term or the medium term."
Buckley, now in his 10th season at the helm of the Magpies, has maintained throughout the year that he will do whatever is best for Collingwood in regards to his own position beyond this season.
On Wednesday, he confirmed he is eager to continue as coach in 2022 and beyond.
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