After talking down the importance of missing his injured stars, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has conceded Jordan de Goey is a little different following his match-winning return against Gold Coast.
De Goey kicked four goals in a virtuoso performance to help drag the Magpies into the finals with a 22-point win.
The 24-year-old was unstoppable, and looked anything but rusty despite not playing since round seven following hand surgery.
Buckley was full of praise following his star's performance.
"I've said all along that personnel is not going to be the difference," Buckley said.
"(It's) whether we play our system, and we're not waiting for the cavalry to come back, but when you see Jordy do his thing you understand how much we've missed.
"It's good to be able to see that evidence on the football field."
De Goey kicked the first goal of the game inside two minutes after nailing Hugh Greenwood in a vice-like tackle before calmly slotting the set shot from 45m.
Manned by reliable Sam Collins, he then roved expertly twice in the second quarter for goals, before leaving his showstopper for the third term.
After losing Collins in congestion, de Goey received a handpass, took two quick steps and slammed the ball through from 50m.
"He's done a lot of work so it's not going to be a conditioning question," Buckley said.
"He hasn't done a lot of touch, as such. He looked pretty sharp."
While de Goey's impact was significant, he wasn't the only Magpie to impress in the slippery conditions with Adam Treloar (26 disposals) making a good fist of his first match from a hamstring injury.
Towering forward Mason Cox also kicked two goals in a promising outing.
"I think he's just starting to look more likely and we saw that again tonight," Buckley said of Cox.
"He took a few marks late last week and his capacity to get on the end of a few tonight was good, and it just breeds confidence in his teammates to go to him more often and that makes a difference, no doubt.
"If you're more dangerous in more different places on the field then you're harder to defend."
It was another night of lost opportunities for Gold Coast, which matched the Magpies in most areas around the ground, apart from its efficiency going inside forward 50.