Pies’ 22 not locked in: Buckley
COLLINGWOOD could spring a selection surprise for Saturday's grand final, with coach Nathan Buckley revealing the team is far from set in stone.
The Magpies made no changes for last week's preliminary final over Richmond, which they won by 39 points, but Buckley said Collingwood's recent losses to West Coast in round 17 and the qualifying final meant a range of things had to be considered by the match committee.
Asked if selection would be easy this week, he said, "No, there's a few moving parts".
"Ultimately selection is easy, should be easy, because it should be evident once you know your opposition, set your plans and you know who's available - it generally becomes really clear about how you can use your assets to your advantage," Buckley said on SEN radio on Wednesday.
"We've got a game from three weeks ago that's evident, that gives us a little bit more information, and then round 17 as well at the 'G gives us a bit more information. Both games we lost but had periods of dominance and periods where we were dominated.
"We have had a largely unchanged side for two or three weeks, which has been a strength I think, and we've built from that, that consistency. But there are a couple of boys that we think could help us and we will consider that when we get to the other side of training tomorrow."
Buckley said there were no concerns over defender Jeremy Howe (lower leg soreness), warning the Eagles, "I hope they underestimate him and not think he's going to be fit".
Meanwhile, the Pies coach revealed he and West Coast counterpart Adam Simpson had plenty of history.
Buckley - who played for Port Adelaide, Brisbane and Collingwood - and Simpson, a North Melbourne great, never played together but crossed paths many times over the journey.
"Our football careers have intertwined quite significantly," Buckley said.
"We played against each other and often on each other for long periods of our career together. We retired about the same point. Actually, I think the day I spoke to North and said that I won't accept the job was the day that Adam retired, so there was a bit going on for North at that point.
"We did our level three (coaching course) together and actually roomed together in Canberra to do the week-long level three together.
"And a few years ago we travelled to Stanford (University) to do some professional development in that space. We would go to Stanford, come back to the hotel, have dinner over a couple of beers and talk about the day's proceedings and what we may have learned and gleaned from it. So it's interesting that it's come full circle to this.
"I have great respect for the bloke, the way he's carried himself, the guy he is."