Pies prepare for Optus Stadium final

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Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley says his team’s outing at Optus Stadium against Fremantle will be “invaluable” when they return in the first week of the finals to play West Coast for a spot in a preliminary final.

Buckley said his team did not produce its best football in the hard-fought win against the Dockers, but all associated with the club were pleased to be able to familiarise themselves with the surrounds. In 2016 the Western Bulldogs played the Dockers in Matthew Pavlich’s farewell game in round 23.

They lost, but returned in week one of the finals to beat the Eagles and launch a September run that netted the club its first flag since 1954.

 On Saturday, the Magpies outlasted the Dockers in Michael Johnson’s farewell match.

“It is invaluable to be able to get a run on the ground and to get a sense of it,” Buckley said.

“A day game and night game would feel a little bit different again.

“But the dimensions and the stands and the feel of the place. That is a benefit for us.”

But he quickly added the Magpies were below their best against Fremantle.

“I didn’t think we played great footy. We were out of shape for a lot of the day,” he said.

“To be able to win the game when we didn’t feel like we were really in sync and connecting with our offence or our defence — I don’t know how much we will take out of that it wasn’t really the way we wanted to play, but it was a sign of maturity to get the win in the end. It was a tight win. It is four points.”

Source & More: https://thewest.com.au/