Nathan Buckley
Nathan Buckley

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has expressed his displeasure at 'the wider community' who he believes have written the Magpies off in the lead-up to the AFL finals.

The Magpies face Hawthorn on Friday night at the MCG after the Hawks finished top of the ladder at the end of the home-and-away season, prompting Buckley to label Alastair Clarkson's side as 'clearly' the best so far this year.

But while Hawthorn are considered overwhelming favourites to win the 2012 premiership, Buckley has hit back at suggestions Collingwood cannot contend with the Hawks.

"We're very bullish about our prospects, unlike the wider community," Buckley said on Tuesday, before adding the Magpies enjoy proving their critics wrong.

"I'm sure Alastair Clarkson will be telling you the game's still to be won and that's the way we see it.

"Quite frankly there's a bit of condescension going on around Collingwood and around our players and around our coaches, around our club in general.

"We don't mind being in that position."

With Andrew Krakouer having played his first game of the season on Saturday, Buckley warned Hawthorn and other teams involved in the finals that if they think they know how Collingwood play, then they will be in for a rude shock.

"I think we're a bit of an unknown quantity in that regard," Buckley said.

"We have changed some things in recent weeks from how we've gone about it throughout the middle of the year in particular, probably closer to back when we were playing our best footy, which was between probably about Rounds 5 and 10."

Collingwood won their final game of the 23 home-and-away rounds, defeating Essendon by 32 points on Saturday to snap a two-match losing skid.

The Magpies did that without big forward Chris Dawes, who has kicked just 14 goals this season, while Travis Cloke found some form, taking 16 marks and kicking five goals in arguably his best game of the year.

But Buckley denied that would work against Dawes when Collingwood pick their side to play Hawthorn.

"He's had a couple of solid training sessions over the week and he's put his name up at training today," Buckley said.

"So we'll go through match committee and decide that as the week progresses."

Buckley also said Tyson Goldsack and Dale Thomas would also be fine to play the Hawks.

Goldsack limped off with an ankle problem against the Bombers on Saturday, while Thomas trained apart from the main group on Tuesday.


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