AAP AFL

Pies face AFL danger game against Lions

By AAP Newswire

Collingwood are treating a dangerous AFL game against Brisbane with a mix of respect, wariness and confidence.

Injuries have cruelled the Magpies and they have lost three of their past four, putting them out of the top four for the first time since round 13.

For all Collingwood's progress this season, they are yet to confirm their first finals appearance since 2013 and they must win Saturday night's clash at Etihad Stadium

Brisbane are in the bottom four and have lost their last three, but two of those games were decided by less than a goal.

The young Lions are growing fast and Magpies assistant coach Garry Hocking, who is in charge of their opposition analysis, is impressed.

"This team is very, very good at moving the ball, shifting the ball," Hocking said.

"(They've had) narrow margins and they beat Hawthorn down in Tassie.

"They've really been in games.

"We really respect them enormously."

But for all Collingwood's personnel dramas, particularly in defence, Hocking is impressed with what the players are showing.

"We think we're on the right path, but coaches are never happy," he said.

"We've had some tests lately and the boys have stood up ... when perhaps they could wallow in a bit of pity of losing players to injury.

"They are really focused and Bucks (coach Nathan Buckley) has done a really good job, to make sure we're still playing good footy - still playing Collingwood footy.

"We've been around the mark (and) we'd be like Brisbane - we're confident about Saturday night as well."

Collingwood have had some good injury news this week, regaining James Aish and Jordan De Goey for the Lions clash.

De Goey in particular is a major boost for their attack, even if his new mohawk haircut has Hocking scratching his head.

"De Goey - you're not quite sure," Hocking said.

"He might have a mohawk one week and he might be bald the next week.

"What we do know though is he's an important player.

"He's ready to jump out there and have a go."