No team has come from outside the top four to make the grand final since the current finals system was introduced in 2000, with only two sides from outside the top four making even the preliminary final.
But the sixth-placed Magpies go into their elimination final against Port Adelaide at the MCG on Saturday night with a quiet confidence they can rewrite history.
"We've shown we can compete with the best teams," Maxwell said on Monday.
"We've won less games, we're not in the top four, but we've shown we can win four games in a row and we think if anyone can be the ones to do it, we can."
Both Maxwell and coach Nathan Buckley's rider to that statement is they must win their first final, seeing off a Port Adelaide side who tripped up the Magpies in round 14 by 35 points.
Collingwood have since shown with wins over Essendon, premiers Sydney and West Coast they are finding fluidity at the right time of the season.
Buckley believes the Magpies' injured trio from Sunday's dead rubber loss to North Melbourne - defender Nathan Brown, forward-ruck Quinten Lynch and swingman Ben Reid - will be available to play Port Adelaide.
"When the dust settled this morning, it seems like they're at the better (end of the) scale," Buckley said.
"Browny's just jarred his knee, Lynchy a rolled ankle, and Reidy's fine - he's right to go.
"They're three pretty important players to our structure, but they've come out of it okay."
Buckley said defender Harry O'Brien, who missed the North match with flu, and onballer Luke Ball, who has recovered from injury, would also be ready for selection.