Chad Morrison could be excused for sitting on the fence when West Coast take on Collingwood in Saturday's cut-throat semifinal at the MCG.
During 10 seasons with the Eagles from 1995 to 2004, the stout half-back played 148 games, including eight victories over the Magpies and just one loss - a crushing 81-point defeat in Melbourne in 2001.
But in his last 21 games of AFL football, he wore the black and white of Collingwood and the final match of his career came when Collingwood upset premiership-bound West Coast at Docklands Stadium in 2006. Nine current Eagles played in that game.
Yesterday, the Victorian-raised Morrison put paid to any suggestion he would be behind the Pies when he sits down with his mates to watch the game on Saturday.
"I watch plenty of football, but I am definitely a West Coast Eagles man," he said. "I spent 10 years there and I went to the last two home games against Geelong and Collingwood even though I missed the final last week. To be honest, I probably don't get to go to the footy as much as I would like to.
"I do stay in touch with the past players' associations at both clubs, but I go to every function West Coast has and I was at the 25-year function this year. I always know the door is open to me at Collingwood when I go over there, though."
Morrison, who moved back to Perth after his AFL career was prematurely ended by back injuries, said he had links with many young Eagles after his three years as a WAFL colts coach. He coached spring-heeled ruckman Nic Naitanui in 2007.
"Yeah, I coached Nic straight after I retired from footy," he said. "He was there when I coached a colts premiership at Swan Districts in 2007 and there were heaps of other guys there who are now playing AFL - I think there are eight of them. Then I went to East Fremantle and coached the colts there in 2008 and 2009 and I coached a few of the guys there like Jacob Brennan and Brad Sheppard. So there's a bit of a link to the Eagles."
Now a personal trainer and pilates instructor, Morrison said he had worked hard developing his new company Chad Morrison Fitness and was happy to finally have his weekends free. It allows him to watch more football and he could not be happier with how the Eagles are going.
"I reckon West Coast will win by about four goals," he said. "Their form coming into the finals has been excellent."'I am definitely a West Coast Eagles man. I spent 10 years there.' " *Chad Morrison *