Collingwood will find themselves at least one game clear inside the top four at the end of Round 20 after they picked up their 10th straight win with a six-point victory over Port Adelaide on Saturday.
With a win-loss record of 14-5, the Magpies may only have to win one more game from their last three to earn a double-chance and give themselves a genuine shot at contending for a premiership.
Having finished 17th last season, the rise has been a remarkable one under rookie coach Craig McRae, with a top-eight finish out of the question at the start of the season.
Now with a final spot locked up, the question has been asked of whether Collingwood could genuinely lift the cup on the last Saturday of September, something no one thought would even be a possibility with this group six months ago.
Tony Jones, Kane Cornes, Matthew Lloyd and Damian Barrett discussed how far the Magpies can go in 2022 on Nine’s Sunday Footy Show.
jones: “Can Collingwood win the premiership?”
Cornes: “I’m a skeptic, I’m more of a skeptic and I don’t think they’ll be there on Preliminary Final weekend.
“I think if they win a final that’s an extraordinary year, I’m looking forward to the test of the next three weeks.
“I’m concerned around their forward line and a lack of key targets there.
“I think their defense is a bit loose with (Jeremy) Howe and (Darcy) Moore.
jones: “But they’ve own 10 on the trot.”
Cornes: “You asked me the question, I’m answering it honestly, I don’t think they’ll be there on Prelim Final week, I could be wrong.”
Lloyd: “What if they beat Melbourne on Friday night?
“I’m with Kane at the moment and I’m expecting Melbourne to win but if they win that one then everything changes.”
Cornes: “I think you’re right on that so I’m looking forward to the test.
“Can they win the premiership?”
jones: “Yes, because they play without fear, and I don’t think they listen to this sort of stuff (doubters).”
One reason why Magpies fans are becoming bullish on their chances is the return of stars Jordan De Goey and Brodie Grundy from injury in the lead-in to finals.
Playing in his first game since Round 16, Lloyd was impressed with how the midfielder looked in a dynamic performance against the Power.
“We talked about De Goey earlier and how big he could be,” Lloyd said.
“Some players play at their best when they’re playing for a contract and he could make a few people nervous again.
“I’m one who was saying, ‘Move him on’, because you probably don’t get enough out of him across a season.
“But when you see games like this where he has 23 disposals, five clearances and kicks a couple of goals, he made a big impact.”
Barrett added that Collingwood has primed De Goey for a finals push with the star undergoing somewhat of a mini pre-season in recent weeks to build his fitness level.
“They did with him through necessity the program the Cats did with Patrick Dangerfield when he wasn’t playing,” Barrett explained.
“They got some fitness into him and he’s returned yesterday and was looking really fit.”
Collingwood will hope to make it 11 in a row when they face Melbourne at the MCG on Friday night.
“You asked me the question, I’m answering it honestly.” 👀
— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) July 31, 2022