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'Not done yet': Bucks ready for big dance

Buckley: 'We're not done yet' Nathan Buckley says his club 'absolutely' believed they could make it to the final stage and reveals they're not finished yet

NATHAN Buckley says Collingwood will spend the build-up to the biggest game of his coaching career still "exploring" new heights after completely dismantling Richmond on Friday night.

Just moments after booking a berth in the 2018 Grand Final, Buckley took the chance to dream of what a match-up against West Coast or Melbourne will bring.

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With 17 players set to experience the first decider of their careers, the Pies will relish the unknown in the eight-day preparation.

"We're not done yet, we've got another game to win," Buckley said post-match.

"We've really been strong on exploring ourselves, finding out what we're capable of and we still don't know. We want to go do that. 

"We'll relax, we'll embrace it, we'll share it with each other, we'll have a laugh, we'll absorb all of that because it's enjoyable to do.  

"But all the while, we know we've got a job to do and we're really looking forward to that challenge."

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Buckley insists star duo Jeremy Howe (ankle) and Jordan De Goey (corked leg) will be fit to play despite being managed in the closing stages.  

Howe has suffered a jarred ankle, while Buckley said De Goey had copped a knock related to the bone stress that ruled him out for two weeks in the back half of the season.

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"The fact he (Howe) was able to come back on was good and an extra day's break into the next game helps us," Buckley said.

"He (De Goey) finished the game pretty strongly but we rested him towards the end.  

"That's probably consistent with what we've seen with him with his leg through the last five or six weeks. Whenever we've had the opportunity to get him off legs we've done it." 

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The Pies turned the tables on two defeats at the hands of Richmond during the home and away season to outclass the reigning premier with pressure in defence and poise in attack.  

After piling on 10 goals to two in the first half, Buckley was just as impressed in his side's ability to weather a late Richmond charge.  

"It was a result that everyone thought was possible, but no one were really prepared to go with," Buckley said of the pre-game assessments.  

"When Richmond did what Richmond do and came at us when the game started looking like the game style they want, we were to compose ourselves and get it back on our terms.

"With about 10 minutes to go (in the match), we'd only had six back-half turnovers, so we'd actually used the ball really well.

"Richmond had 36 and 38 front-half turnovers against us in the two games during the year. So that was something we needed to look after and not charge their batteries and fuel their football." 

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One man missing from the back half was Lynden Dunn, with the key defender still coming to terms on his missed opportunity after rupturing his ACL in round 15.  

In his absence, Tom Langdon and Brayden Maynard stood up, while Howe and Tyson Goldsack both spent time on Jack Riewoldt (five goals).

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"Dunny's in there (changerooms) in tears because he understands what he's missing out on," Buckley said.

"He's got this pride for the group that he's involved with but this hurt that he carries … that s***, this is something that I've missed out on (and) invested a lot into.

"We'll continue to shine a light on the roles different people play and the investment to the program." 

Mason Cox was praised for playing to his strengths, with the big man pulling in three contested marks and kicking three goals in the first half alone.

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Buckley couldn't have been more impressed with Steele's Sidebottom's 41-disposal game, while there was plenty of love for ruck sensation Brodie Grundy, described as the "heart" of the team after dominating his battle with Toby Nankervis.

The Magpies coach also revealed he had brought the entire football department together on the Monday following the semi-final win over Greater Western Sydney to offer continual thanks.