Collingwood will play the West Coast Eagles at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday in the season decider.
About 5000 people turned up at Collingwood headquarters to watch the team train on Tuesday.
Thousands of eager Collingwood fans have packed into Olympic Park in Melbourne to watch the Magpies train ahead of the AFL Grand Final
A Collingwood fan poses with club president Eddie McGuire during the team’s open training at Olympic Park
About 5000 people (as well as dogs) turned up at Collingwood headquarters to watch the team train on Tuesday
A young fan has his guernsey signed by Scott Pendlebury during Collingwood’s open training in Melbourne
Magpies coach Nathan Buckley signs autographs during the training session on Tuesday
Collingwood ruckman Brodie Grundy said the rags-to-riches tales within his AFL club should win over the hearts of neutrals ahead of the grand final.
As fans ponder where their allegiances might lie in their clash with West Coast, Grundy has put forward a compelling case for the Magpies.
‘There are so many stories, it just depends where you want to look,’ Grundy said.
‘Tyson (Goldsack). Adam Treloar. Travis Varcoe – what he’s gone through.
Adam Oxley jumps a fence to pose for photographs with fans during Collingwood’s open training session
Nathan Murphy snaps a selfie with two Collingwood fans during the team’s training session at Olympic Park
Collingwood will play the West Coast Eagles in the AFL Grand Final on Saturday afternoon
Josh Daicos and Brody Mihocek of the Collingwood Magpies sign autographs for fans during a training session at Olympic Park
‘The story of the footy club itself. Nathan Buckley and the scrutiny he was under.
‘Steele Sidebottom. The year that he’s had.
‘It’s amazing to be a part of.’
Goldsack suffered an anterior cruciate ligament rupture in March, an injury that usually comes with a 10-12 month layoff.
Instead, the 31-year-old returned after just six months and could cap his career with a second premiership.
Adam Treloar is another good-news injury story, having recovered from a rare double hamstring strain on the eve of the AFL finals.
Steele Sidebottom and Adam Treloar pose for selfies with fans during the team’s open training session
Collingwood fans will be hoping for a reversal of the result the last time the two team’s met at the MCG in round 17
West Coast thrashed Collingwood in their last game at the MCG, but Collingwood fans are hopeful of a win this time round
The death of Varcoe’s sister Maggie earlier this month – from an incident while playing football in South Australia – flavours Collingwood’s story with heartbreak.
The Magpie forward has played through the tragedy, saying taking his place in the team has grounded him through the grief.
‘It shook us up and no one more than Travis,’ Grundy said.
‘The message that Travis sent to the group is that it happened with her doing something that she loved.
‘The way he’s coped with it and his resilience … it gave the group real strength.’
Buckley has also enjoyed warm support this season after masterminding the club’s run to the finals.
The Pies hadn’t finished higher than 11th for four seasons until this year, and contemplated sacking Buckley 12 months ago.
But the club’s favourite son out-did Richmond boss Damien Hardwick in their preliminary final showdown to earn his first grand final berth as a coach.
Fans watch on as the Collingwood Magpies train ahead of their Grand Final clash with the West Coast Eagles
Some fans took to finding higher ground in order to get a better glimpse of their team in action
Sidebottom has enjoyed a banner year in his ninth season and may well be having the best finals series in recent memory.
And the story that Grundy didn’t mention is possibly the most special.
That’s Mason Cox, the towering Texan who almost single-handedly ripped reigning premiers Richmond apart in their preliminary final on Friday night.
Grundy said his remarkable story would be worthy of a premiership.
‘What we love him for is he thinks a lot broader than just football,’ he said.
‘When he came here, he didn’t know whether he was going to play a game.
‘I saw all the extra work that he did. I’m not surprised at the player that he’s become.
‘He deserves every success.’
A Collingwood fan takes photos of the players during the team’s open training session in Melbourne
Fans wore their black and white colours to support the team as they trained ahead of Saturday afternoon’s decider