Collingwood face a must-win situation on Saturday against a Greater Western Sydney side determined to end their third AFL season with a flourish.
Injury-ravaged Collingwood will be desperate to keep their slim AFL finals hopes alive by beating a Greater Western Sydney side that insists they also still have plenty to play for.
Collingwood enter the penultimate round in tenth spot on 40 points, the same as eighth-placed Adelaide, but with the second-worst percentage of the four clubs on that points total.
The catastrophic injury toll from last week’s loss to Brisbane has robbed the Magpies of five premiership players, Dayne Beams, Travis Cloke, Heritier Lumumba, Ben Reid and Alan Toovey, who boast a combined tally of 754 games.
The Giants also racked up their share of injuries last week, with Callan Ward and Jon Patton joining their already extensive casualty list.
Co-captain Phil Davis was named in their team for Saturday pending a final fitness test on his calf.
However, GWS will surely enter the Spotless Stadium encounter in more confident mood after recording the biggest win in their history last weekend against Melbourne.
Any additions to their tally of five wins will ensure they avoid the wooden spoon for the first time and add a little bit of extra credibility to the third-season franchise.
“Another win on the board is a really successful year for us and shows we’re really heading in the right direction,” Giants coach Leon Cameron said.
GWS will find it difficult to finish higher than their present 16th placing, but matches against the battling Magpies and Western Bulldogs offer opportunities to further develop the winning culture the club is striving to achieve.
“These last two games are a big chance for us to show how far we’ve come this year,” Giants defender Matt Buntine told AAP.
“We’re certainly going to go out there this weekend and put it all on the line and back up the weekend after and do that.
“If we can finish off the year with two wins, or even one, that would be a great step for us and breed a lot of confidence going into the pre-season next year and set our future up really well.”
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley isn’t underestimating the challenge of toppling the Giants despite their lowly ladder position.
“We’re under no illusions about the side we’re facing and the quality of their youth,” Buckley said.