Brayden Maynard celebrates winning the round eight match between Carlton and Collingwood at the MCG, May 3, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

REIGNING premier Collingwood is confident it is getting back to its best, despite missing several key players.

The Magpies lost their first three games of the season but have steadied their flag defence at 4-1-3 ahead of facing West Coast on Sunday.

"The boys are starting to play some better football, the way we want to play," defender Brayden Maynard said.

"We started off the year not playing as well as we should've, but I think the footy we're playing now is stacking up."


The Magpies are missing premiership midfielders Jordan De Goey (groin) and Tom Mitchell (foot), forward Brody Mihocek (hamstring) and potentially forward Jamie Elliott (back), but Maynard sees their absence as an opportunity for younger players to shine.

"(Carlton) was a pretty contested footy game and a few of the boys were quite sore," he said of the club’s dramatic six-point win in round eight.

"We have quite a few injuries coming out of the game, so it'll be interesting to see what happens this week."

Explosive midfielder De Goey is on leave due to groin soreness, but Maynard was hopeful his absence wouldn't be prolonged.

Jordan De Goey warms up ahead of the match between Collingwood and Hawthorn at Adelaide Oval in round four, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"He'll be right, I don't think (De Goey) has had this issue before so it'll be great to see him back in the next couple of weeks, hopefully," Maynard said.

Maynard is unsure whether Elliott will also be sidelined.

"You might have to ask the physios and the coaches for that, but I feel like he'll be able to get up," he said.

MEDICAL ROOM Check out the full injury list

"And if he doesn't, there'll be opportunity for other players to come up and fill his spot."

Maynard won't underestimate the Eagles, with last year's wooden spooners in decent form.

"They're playing some seriously good football, Harley Reid's playing some good football and the older guys are playing some good football as well," he said.


"They had a really good game against Essendon, only lost by a goal over there, and you gotta respect every opposition you come up against.

"They're not just going to be an easy game where you can just show up and expect to win."

Collingwood is playing West Coast on Mother's Day and Maynard attended the press conference with his mum, Donna, in honour of the occasion.

The mother-son duo will put together flower bouquets for the players' mums and women in their lives, which they will present at Sunday's match.