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Everyone from Collingwood president Eddie McGuire to his players to past greats of the game have weighed into the debate on the Pies only having a six-day break between their semi-final win over GWS and their blockbuster preliminary final against the Tigers on Friday.

McGuire was furious that the prelim finals weren’t flipped so all sides would be guaranteed a seven-day break but these are the cards Collingwood have been dealt and the players won’t be using the short turnaround as an excuse if they go under at the MCG.

In the past decade, the Magpies have played four finals on a six-day turnaround and won just one of them, so history may be against them. But in their favour is an unwavering self-belief, a canny coach and an army of sports scientists and dieticians and medical staff who will ensure the players are physically and mentally ready to take on the premiers in the club’s biggest game since the 2011 grand final.

The players don’t seem too concerned though with Adam Treloar declaring “we just have to recover well during the week and do all the little things right, then we just need to play our style of game on Friday night”.

To give you an unique insight into how the Pies will prepare over the six days, Fit For Footy has gone inside the camp and spoken to the players about how the week will play out – from the moment they put the Giants to bed on Saturday to the moment they charge through the banner on Friday night.





We knew the Giants would be tough to get past and that’s exactly how it turned out. We missed a few opportunities early and kept them in the game, but it was great to get on top in the last quarter and soak up the atmosphere of our fans.

It was nice to celebrate the win and enjoy the moment with our families and friends but we pretty quickly turned our minds to the Tigers.

All the boys have agreed not to drink any alcohol until after the season finishes so the celebration drinks are water and Gatorade. All the boys have been taught that alcohol affects your ability to recover, disturbs your sleep and causes inflammation in the body, so it makes sense for us not to drink.

The other thing that’s very important tonight is diet as you have a 30-minute window after the game to replace carbohydrates for your muscles. That’s a crucial part of the recovery process.

It’s always hard to come down off the high of winning a game like that but sleep is essential. The best way to recover is a good night’s sleep and if you can get at least eight hours on the first night that’s a great result.

The adrenaline is flowing and we’ve just qualified for a preliminary final but you need to try and come down off the high and get a decent kip.


The Pies savoured the win over the Giants . . . but very quickly moved into recovery and preparation mode for the prelim.



Into the club for injury clinic so the boys can be checked out for any issues from the night before and see if anyone needs to go for scans.

Bucks and the other coaches will get a pretty fair idea who’ll be right to play the Tigers and who might struggle to get up. Around 2-3 will need to get through training Wednesday for a final decision.

All the boys are a bit stiff and sore from the night before, so there’s a big focus on recovery — we can get a massage at the club, do some water recovery and get our hydration checks to make sure we begin to return to our pre-game weight by Monday.

Once again our diet is very important. Our muscles need protein to continue to repair and there’s lot of snacks available at the club like breakfast burritos, protein shakes, fruit and yoghurt.

The boys all have their favourite foods but know what they need to eat to get ready for the week ahead.

In the afternoon we get some time to recharge mentally by spending time with friends and family and relaxing at home.

The boys are encouraged to do whatever works for them — some take the dog for a walk. I love getting my dog Griffen out and about for a walk with me the day after the game. Others like to mediate or do yoga, some play Fortnite on Xbox like Jaidyn Stephenson and some will use the Float tanks or Cryotherapy chambers.

Cryotherapy chambers are where your body is cooled by extremely cold air at -130 deg Celsius for 2-3 mins. This helps with joint inflammation and muscle recovery and will be used by players during the week.



Still lots of sore bodies so recovery is still the main focus. Around 48 hours after the game is when muscle soreness is at its worst, so massage and a pool session are a great way to ease the pain. A light spin on the bike helps flush out the lactic in the legs.

We are still eating to recover and making sure we are rehydrated.

Mental stimulation is kept to a minimum. Key parts of the Giants’ game are touched on with meetings kept to a minimum to allow the players to recover mentally.

Sleep still a huge part in the recovery process and players are encouraged to catch up on sleep that they missed over the weekend post match.

I’m coming off my hammy surgery so I do a lot of injury prevention exercises to stay healthy. I’m fanatical about looking after my body so I do a bit every day.

We had a lot of media on Monday at the club. There’s so much interest in this week’s game, you can feel the buzz at the club.





A day off for the players to rest up.

We use Float Tanks which helps with mental and physical recovery, as well as compression boots or recovery boots. We use them at the club and at home, and they help with muscle soreness in the legs by moving blood and lactic acid from the legs.

Everyone loves the recovery boots, I have a pair at home and use them twice a day!

Tommy Phillips loves them, which is important for him considering the amount of running he does in a game! He covered 14.5 kms in the game against the Giants and 2.5km of that was at high speed! He’s a running machine.

The coaching staff will start preparing for the Tigers. Important parts of the game-plan are sent to players. Key match-ups are plotted out by Bucks and our coaching group.

We get sent our line group information from the coaches so we know what’s ahead on Wednesday for the main training session. This info the day before our main training session helps us prepare for the meetings we have before training.

I make sure I do a lot of rebound handball drills every day, even on my day off. It helps me stay sharp and prepare for the game each week. It’s so important, especially coming up to this huge game against the Tigers.

100 hours until game time.



The Pies will hit the paddock on Wednesday for their main training session.




Main training session, it’s an open session so there are a lot of fans there.

We always train two days before we play.

Bucks and the coaches want to make sure skills are sharp, and we practice key parts of the game plan to beat the Tigers. We feel confident that if we play our style of footy, we have a great chance to beat Richmond.

We do a little match simulation in training. The reserves will play as Richmond, copying the Tigers’ game style, with the players who will play on Friday night playing against them.

With a short turnaround the session wasn’t long but players needed to hit high speed. This is one important factor that can decrease a player’s risk of soft tissue injuries which is an issue the Pies have had this season.

Weights focus on lower body. Again it was a light session so the players feel good.

Some may lift very little, but maintaining our leg strength between games is another way we make sure players will perform at their best on Friday night and also decrease the risk of soft tissue injuries.

In May, when Darcy Moore and Jamie Elliott both suffered hamstring injuries, Walshy (the Pies’ General Manager of Football Geoff Walsh) said the club would be reviewing its recent issues with soft tissue injuries, and we did.


Tom Langdon stays hydrated.




Captain’s run/light training session today. Players want to get some final touches in with their teammates before running out to play.

We do a quick 10-minute light banded weights session to stimulate the nervous system. It’s a great way to prepare for the game tomorrow.

Diet and hydration are so important the day before a game. We need to make sure players are rehydrated after the main training session. This is the best day to fix any dehydration issues as you don’t want to drink a lot of water on game day because it makes you feel heavy.

Carbs through the day and for dinner is important. Everyone has a favourite meal the night before the game. Pasta, for some, rice and a stir-fry for others. I love eating a spag bol with garlic bread.




Some players head to the game together. It’s a great opportunity for players to chat or just listen to music and get their mind right.

There is a monumental challenge awaiting us.

If preparation has gone to plan then the six-day turnaround will not be an issue.

Preparing in the rooms at the ‘G you can always hear the crowd building in the stadium as we get close to the first bounce.

Run through the banner. Play the Tigers. Game On.

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