Stephen Coniglio is tackled during GWS's match against Collingwood in round nine, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

A HEAVY loss to Collingwood earlier in the season could've been the best thing to happen to Greater Western Sydney as the Giants gear up for their preliminary final clash, key defender Jack Buckley says.

The Giants face the formidable Magpies and their faithful on Friday at the MCG, more than a hundred days after Craig McRae's side picked them apart to hand them a resounding 65-point loss in round nine.

But Buckley points out Port Adelaide did much the same to them less than 40 days ago, with the Giants losing by 51 points.


Fuelled by the desire to show they had learned their lessons, GWS did exactly that in their second meeting with Port on Saturday night to book their first preliminary final since 2019, winning 13.15 (93) to 9.16 (70).

It comes after they beat St Kilda in their elimination final having also lost to the Saints earlier in the season.

"With our performance last time ... we knew what we did wrong," Buckley said.

"(Something) we pride ourselves on this year is when a team beats us the first time around, we learn our lessons and we come back and try to get it done.

"So to do that again after doing it to St Kilda, Carlton and other teams, it gives us a lot of confidence going in against Collingwood next week."

Buckley showed his class against the Power, registering a game-high 10 intercept possessions, two intercept marks and 18 disposals.

With defensive aces Sam Taylor and Connor Idun, the Giants boast a backline that could withstand a dynamic Magpies forward line featuring the likes of Jamie Elliott, Brody Mihocek and Bobby Hill.

Jack Buckley celebrates GWS's semi-final win over Port Adelaide on September 16, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

"I'm so grateful to be part of (the backline). We're all great mates and we just feed off each other," Buckley said.

"We've always been a close group. Saying that publicly only goes so far and we're showing on field how close we are.

"I'm just riding that wave and just doing what I can to help everyone perform. It's a pretty easy path to follow at the moment.

"To go down and play a prelim at the MCG on Friday night against Collingwood - it's a dream come true."