Demons up for emotion-charged AFL game

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin has given a stirring tribute to Collingwood counterpart Nathan Buckley ahead of his last game in charge of the Magpies.

SIMON GOODWIN.
SIMON GOODWIN. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin is preparing for Collingwood to be fired-up and determined to send Nathan Buckley off on a high.

The Demons are coming off back-to-back matches against top-four candidates - winning both of them - but Goodwin is still expecting loads of pressure against the embattled Magpies (3-9) on Monday.

Queen's Birthday matches are always big occasions, especially since Neale Daniher's Big Freeze has been incorporated into the pre-game ritual.

But after Buckley called time on his Magpies coaching career this week, the ladder-leading Demons all of a sudden have another layer of complexity to deal with.

"We know the game is going to have emotion built into it on the back of Nathan's departure in his last game," Goodwin said.

"That's fine with us. It's something we want to be able to thrive in.

"We want to be able to thrive in games when there is pressure, there is emotion and a sense of occasion and I think this game gives us this opportunity.

"We've got the utmost respect for Collingwood, we've got the utmost respect for Nathan Buckley so it's a challenge we'll look forward to."

Buckley (Collingwood) and Goodwin (Adelaide) fought it out as champion midfielders during 11 simultaneous years in the AFL.

For the last five years, they have gone up against each other as coaches with the fortunes of their clubs heading in opposite directions.

"I've just admired Nathan as a player but also as a coach," Goodwin said.

"He's just a great football person and he's someone over the last 20 years I've certainly tapped into and had conversations with around the game and around coaching and elements within our game.

"He's just been a great contributor to our great game and I wish him the best for the future for what they may look like but to say thank you.

"He's been an outstanding ambassador in a lot of areas."

In-form forward Tom McDonald is expected to play despite his wife Ruby being heavily pregnant.

"We've been in communication with Tom and Ruby and they're really comfortable with where things sit," Goodwin said.

"If the situation arises where the baby's on the way we'll get Tom back as quick as we can."