MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 23: Jeremy Howe of the Magpies (left) and Jordan De Goey of the Magpies celebrate during the 2018 AFL round 14 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Carlton Blues at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 23, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Former Essendon skipper Tim Watson has declared that Collingwood are a premiership contender.

The Pies moved into fourth place following Sunday’s 20-point victory over the Blues at the MCG, the first time they have won five straight since 2012.

And Watson has seen enough to suggest that Nathan Buckley’s team can go all the way in 2018.

“I believe they can win the premiership. I think they’re in the market,” he told SEN Breakfast.

“They play the right type of sustainable footy.

“They play the Suns, Essendon, West Coast at the MCG and North Melbourne – that’s their next month. It’s a reasonable run home that they’ve got.”

Collingwood have been hit hard with injuries this season, but Watson thinks they have found enough cover to give the finals a shake.

“I’m thinking they can win the flag without Jamie Elliott, Darcy Moore might come into that side, Travis Varcoe is a very important player as well, they’ve got a really good balance,” he said.

“Their defensive unit is really, really good. They’ve got maybe the number one ruckman in the competition in Grundy and the midfield spread is brilliant.”

Watson is not overreacting to a win against the bottom-placed Blues, but rather the Pies’ newfound synergy and method.

“We’re not getting excited about Collingwood because they beat Carlton, but it’s the balance of their team, the way they play, they now have so many different options,” he said.

“They seem to be all on the same page and that was the problem with Collingwood, we weren’t sure if they were all on the same page, we weren’t quite sure how they were defending, now they seem to have it all together.”

Collingwood will travel up to the Gold Coast to face the Suns on Saturday night.