Mick Malthouse and Nathan Buckley together at Collingwood in 2010
COLLINGWOOD coach Nathan Buckley has brushed aside talk of going up against his old AFL boss Mick Malthouse three weeks earlier than planned.
Depending on results this weekend, the Magpies could play Malthouse's Carlton on March 15 or 16 in the NAB Cup final.
Carlton, Collingwood, the Brisbane Lions and North Melbourne are the three unbeaten teams, while Geelong, Richmond and St Kilda could also technically make the final.
There will be a massive build-up to round two in the regular season, when arch rivals Collingwood and Carlton clash.
Malthouse coached Collingwood to the 2010 premiership but, a year later, resigned rather than stay under a negotiated succession plan.
Buckley took over after serving as a player and assistant coach under Malthouse.
Relations between Malthouse and the Magpies have been strained at best since he left the club.
Malthouse has made a successful start at Carlton after a year's rest, the Blues having sacked Brett Ratten.
Last month, Malthouse confessed at Carlton's family day he knew exactly when he would coach against Collingwood during the regular season.
But Buckley continues to refuse to buy into the hype.
Asked on Monday if he would like to go up against Malthouse in the NAB Cup final, Buckley made a point of talking about the teams, not the coaches.
"Do Collingwood want to play Carlton? ... I haven't even thought about it," he said on 3AW.
"We have an opportunity against Brisbane and we're trying to get game time and find out our round-one team."
The Magpies will host the Lions on Saturday at Etihad Stadium, while Carlton play in Adelaide on Friday night against the Crows.
Buckley said Collingwood will make around five changes to their team, with All-Australian defender Ben Reid one of the definite outs.
Reid suffered bone bruising in Sunday's win over West Coast, although he was cleared of serious damage to the joint
The Pies are confident the injury will not dramatically affect his preparations.
Buckley has also commented on the AFL's interchange controversy, saying the league should consider a cap of around 150 per team per game.
Malthouse led a chorus of disapproval from coaches over the weekend, when the AFL started trialling a cap of 80 rotations.
"If you're worried about it going exponential again, then just cap it at 150," Buckley said.
"No-one can go over the top of that, it's not going to go any further.
"The game is in pretty good shape as it is."