CAN COLLINGWOOD do it for Nathan Buckley in his final game as coach?
The high-flying Demons will certainly need to be on their guard for today's Queen's Birthday blockbuster at the SCG from 3.20pm AEST.
Buckley was all smiles ahead of the game when he was presented with a piece of the SCG turf from the ground's trust chairman Tony Shepherd.
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The Demons will start hot favourite for the clash but it wasn't that long ago when the status of these teams were polar opposite. Around 10 years ago when Collingwood was challenging for flags it would, somewhat condescendingly, refer to this game as 'Melbourne's Grand Final'.
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In fact, in 2010 (the year Collingwood won the Grand Final), the Pies enjoyed a similar run to the 2021 Demons and dropped only two games for the home and away season in which Melbourne finished fifth bottom. And in 2012, the teams were in exactly opposing ladder positions at this time of the year with Collingwood on top with a 10-2 record and Melbourne third bottom. How times have changed.
Now it's Collingwood's turn to have an unstable board and coach insecurity.
Meanwhile, Buckley has resisted the temptation to recall giant forward Mason Cox for the clash, opting for speedy forward Beau McCreery and tough utility Chris Mayne.
Melbourne dropped experienced half-forward Jake Melksham to make room for returning wingman Ed Langdon.
The past three Melbourne-Collingwood Queen's Birthday meetings (2017-2019) have drawn crowds of more than 70,000 at the MCG.
Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin is hopeful a relatively strong Demons crowd will be on hand at Monday's clash, which was moved to SCG because of Victoria's COVID-19 outbreak
"It is a shame that we're not at the MCG but last week we saw our supporters come out in fine voice at Giants Stadium, so we know there are plenty of supporters in Sydney," Goodwin said.
"We want to get them to the SCG and make it a great occasion."