LOCK away before looking elsewhere.
The Magpies' first post-season priority should be re-signing Darcy Moore, Jordan De Goey, Brody Mihocek and big-improver Josh Daicos – and possibly in that order.
Coach Nathan Buckley promises to be "as aggressive as we can be" in this year's Trade Period, but losing any of the aforementioned quartet, particularly the top two, would be a significant blow.
Securing De Goey's signature was just a matter of agreeing on financial terms, Buckley said after Collingwood's surprisingly lopsided 68-point finals exit to Geelong on Saturday night.
The 24-year-old is brilliant at his best and told AFL.com.au in July he "definitely wants to stay" at the Pies, yet there's always anxiety when a star is yet to commit this late in the year.
Moore deserves a big pay packet as well, while this next contract is Mihocek's last chance to cash in, after arriving off the VFL scrapheap and winning Collingwood's goalkicking the past two seasons.
Given the Magpies' forward woes – outside of Mason Cox's random star turns – retaining Mihocek is a non-negotiable, but he isn't a superstar, so they need to strike the right balance.
Daicos is an interesting case, too, with his development creating a four-headed contract problem for list boss Ned Guy and co.
The son of Peter wasn't a certain round one starter until his standout Marsh Community Series performances, but has enjoyed a breakout campaign.
The Magpies know his younger brother, father-son prospect Nick, a potential top-five draft pick next year, is also on the way, so it's a delicate situation.
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The Saints' transformation from also-rans into a side that made the second week of finals has earned everyone's respect.
With such a premium placed on cohesion, they bucked the trend in introducing five trade recruits and a new senior coach – and still stormed up the ladder.
The challenge now is to build on this season's progress, a task many teams struggle with.
Brett Ratten and co. need to be realistic about still being some way off the competition's best and knowing there are list holes that need filling.
St Kilda let Josh Bruce go because it didn't think he was the answer next to budding star Max King, something the Western Bulldogs learned the hard way this season.
However, it's still unclear what the Saints are planning to do to provide King with a running partner. Is Josh Battle that man? If so, commit to it. If not, how do they find one?
Then there's the midfield. Jack Steele's emergence as their No.1 onballer was incredible, while newcomer Zak Jones delivered the zip and extra hardness they needed.
At the same time, St Kilda hasn't been shy in saying it needs to address this area and is hunting Giant Jye Caldwell's signature.
Caldwell can help next year and well into the future, while someone like veteran Hawk Isaac Smith appeals as a free agent with experience who's had major success.