Jimmy Bartel has declared Collingwood fans will be "wetting the bed" at the prospect of losing to GWS in Friday night's preliminary final blockbuster. The minor premiership-winning Magpies will go into the clash as the red-hot favourites, but the Giants have been in some seriously good form of late.
The Giants beat St Kilda by 27 points in the first week of the finals, before trouncing Port Adelaide by 23 points to advance to the prelim. According to GWS director Bartel, the 'Magpie Army' will be shaking in their boots at the very thought of a shock loss on Friday night.
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"They're wetting the bed. They're shitting the bed," Bartel said on the 'Yesterday's Heroes' podcast. "They've got feelings of 2019 (preliminary final loss to GWS). Collingwood supporters, they get on the defensive ."
Bartel went on to praise Craig McRae and what he's done as Collingwood coach. "They've been the best side all year . It's more of a tip of the cap to Collingwood here," he said. "Home final, 95,000 people there will be Collingwood supporters. That's the reality. Collingwood do have the biggest fan base."
As for McRae, he thinks the Magpie Army will be a huge advantage for his side at the MCG. McRae was previously an assistant coach at Richmond, and vividly recalls the sound of Tigers fans in a 94,000-strong crowd making their presence felt during the 2017 preliminary final. On the receiving end in the MCG cauldron that day were the Giants and a smattering of GWS supporters, in what remains the benchmark for one-sided AFL crowds.
"It's a huge advantage ... the roar of the crowd when Richmond kicked their first goal was significant," McRae said. "I've never heard anything like it and that is an advantage. You have to play against that. You can say you just play the ball but we have an advantage and we want to bring our fans along for the journey, and I'm sure they'll be nice and loud on Friday night."
Craig McRae expecting huge advantage from Magpie Army
The Pies have averaged 75,000 fans across 15 games at the MCG this season, with more than 90,000 expected for the sold-out showdown on Friday night. "The roar of the crowd when we kick a goal and when we do something well, we get inspired by that," McRae said.
McRae will go head-to-head with GWS coach Adam Kingsley - another former Richmond assistant. Just like McRae, Kingsley has taken his team to the preliminary final in his first season in charge.
"Kingers and I are very similar, he just does a lot more weights on his arms. He spends so much time in the gym," McRae laughed. "He's a great fella and I'm really, really happy for him. I'm not surprised by his success. It's always followed him on his journey. I wish him well, just not this week."
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