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Pies in 'good position' with finals locked in

Full post-match: Magpies Watch Collingwood's press conference after round 22's match against Port Adelaide
Nathan Murphy looked comfortable at AFL level - AFL,Collingwood Magpies,Nathan Buckley
Nathan Murphy looked comfortable at AFL level
We're executing a brand of footy we feel is getting better as the season progresses
Nathan Buckley

COLLINGWOOD will return to the finals for the first time in five years and coach Nathan Buckley expects his side's "brand" to stack up in the September pressure cooker.

That post-season status was confirmed with the runaway 51-point victory over Port Adelaide at the MCG on Saturday.

The Magpies, who could yet finish in the top four, dealt a major blow to the Power's own finals hopes with eight straight goals either side of three-quarter time to transform a tug-of-war into a cakewalk.

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"We were pretty confident we were there a little bit earlier, but mathematically it's a good position to be in," Buckley told reporters of the club consolidating its top-eight spot.

"More important than that is we're executing a brand of footy we feel is getting better as the season progresses – and that's the important thing for us.

"It's coming to the pointy end and … we're just enjoying our work and exploring what our footy looks like, and today was another positive step on that journey.

"September's a high-intensity brand of footy and I think we play that brand of footy and we have all year."

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Buckley hailed his team's last quarter as its most dominant of the year – Collingwood had 26 inside 50s to Port's seven – and the last 45 minutes as "a good example of us playing pretty solid footy".

"(We had) 75 per cent positive territory … we were able to lock it in there," he said.

 

"Even when the ball was down the other end, I thought our defenders won some crucial contests. The Brayden Maynard-(Tom) Rockliff one was an example.

"Having said that, we were bleeding we gave up that goal with five seconds on the clock, but we did a lot right.

"We turned the ball over in the front half, we looked like there was pressure on every Port Adelaide disposal, we moved the ball efficiently (and) we won clearances, so it was a good quarter."

WATCH Nathan Buckley's full post-match press conference

Collingwood has needed to reach deep into its list all season in response to a raft of key injuries, with Nathan Murphy becoming the 38th Magpie to play at senior level this year.

The cricket convert, who was the No.39 draft pick last year, finished with 14 disposals and was the seventh player at the club to make his AFL debut in 2018.

Murphy came into the team from outside the emergencies on Friday, when fellow defender Sam Murray ruled himself out of selection for "personal reasons".

Buckley shed no light in his post-match media conference on when Murray might return or the reason behind his absence.

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"Murph's been in - in the last couple of weeks in the VFL - great form and his best form of the season, so he came good at the right time," the coach said.

"It was probably due to his training form in no small part. We had 15 minutes of match practice on Thursday and he played on Jordy (De Goey) and won 80 per cent of the one-on-ones he found himself in.

"So, if players ever doubt that training form gets taken into consideration, that's cleared it up for him because it had an influence in the decision."

Adam Treloar, Darcy Moore, Jeremy Howe and Tyson Goldsack are among the reinforcements that could filter back into the team in the coming weeks – likely starting with Howe next week.

But Jamie Elliott, Lynden Dunn, Matt Scharenberg, Daniel Wells, Ben Reid and Tim Broomhead are out for the season.