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"We're still in the fight": Buckley

Bucks reviews tough loss Watch the press conference of coach Nathan Buckley after Collingwood's 16-point loss to West Coast at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.

Collingwood won't "cry over spilt milk" after Saturday's nail-biting qualifying final loss to West Coast, with coach Nathan Buckley challenging his midfield to rebound in next week's cutthroat semi-final against Greater Western Sydney.

The Magpies held a two-point lead with five minutes to play on Saturday night, but they conceded three straight goals to just miss an opportunity at hosting a preliminary final. 

Despite finding themselves in a winning position late, Buckley said the Magpies had lost control of the midfield battle much earlier in the fourth quarter, with West Coast winning the contested ball 46-32 after three-quarter time. 

"We thought we were able to handle it for the most part, and we were in a position at three-quarter time to go ahead and finish the game off, but we didn't," Buckley said. 

"We gave up some momentum at stoppage and got done at contested ball, and that's where finals games largely exist.

"The opposition, you've got to give them credit for their persistence and what they were able to do out of stoppage.

"We were well beaten in contested ball in that last quarter and put our backs under a fair bit of pressure as a result."

Having led the Magpies to a top-four finish for the first time since 2012, Buckley said Saturday night was an opportunity lost, but not one the team could get hung up on.

The coach refused to label his team unlucky in the Optus Stadium cauldron, saying: "we just didn't execute or complete the job". 

"You get a chance at a qualifying final and you don't win it, that's an opportunity lost … as simplistic as it sounds, it absolutely is," Buckley said.  

"But we haven't been a group that have dwelled too long. We're still in the fight … we won't dwell or cry over spilt milk.

"We have an opportunity now to make sure we in some ways take the lessons from this experience and dust ourselves off and go again.

"We're aware of who we face now and we really progress and project forward to that opportunity."

The selections of returning trio Tyson Goldsack, Jeremy Howe and Adam Treloar off injury proved wise, with Goldsack excellent in his battle with star Eagle Josh Kennedy, keeping him to two goals. 

Treloar started well in the midfield with 10 first-quarter possessions, before slowing to finish with 24 (six clearances), while Howe was valuable in defence and was moved on to Jack Darling after half-time.

"I think for the most part they did (perform)," Buckley said of the trio. 

"We've been a group that are looking out for one another and are prepared to play for each other, and I don't think we saw anything different tonight.

"Whether we've won games or we've lost them, we've played with a consistency of effort for each other, and we saw three boys come back tonight and perform admirably."

Buckley also highlighted Travis Varcoe's ability to play after the death of his sister Margaret last week.

"To be able to stand up and play for his teammates was huge … there were some significant efforts out there," the coach said.