Collingwood’s big loss to Richmond has left them outside of the AFL’s top four but coach Nathan Buckley insists the Magpies aren’t far off their best.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has put a positive spin on his side’s worrying AFL form slump, insisting the Magpies are only “a couple of per cent” off their best and declaring they will not make wholesale changes at selection.
Friday night’s 14.14 (98) to 9.12 (66) defeat to Richmond at the MCG means the Magpies sit outside of the top four with four rounds remaining.
Last year’s premiership runners-up have lost four out of six games since their mid-season bye, including last week’s similarly hefty defeat to GWS.
For the second week in a row, the Pies were dominated after giving up a huge lead early in the game.
Buckley’s men were held goalless for almost an hour of play between Adam Treloar booting the first goal of the match in the opening minutes and Scott Pendlebury’s roving finish shortly before halftime.
With Taylor Adams (hamstring) a late withdrawal and Jordan Roughead concussed during the second quarter, the Pies again had far too few contributing.
Towering ruck-forward Mason Cox was again held goalless and struggled to make an impact in the air, Jamie Elliott managed just five touches on return from injury and Josh Daicos, Callum Brown, Travis Varcoe and Josh Thomas were all quiet.
With a growing injury list leaving the Pies with few options at selection, Buckley said the Pies needed to find improvement from within.
“We need to keep believing in the way that we think the game should be played,” he said.
“I think there’s enough evidence over the last year and a half that when we do what we do well, it stacks up.
“We’re just a little bit off at the moment. We’ve generally covered for each other really well in a role sense and been able to come together and find some really good team synergy.
“We’re probably just a couple of per cent off that as well. It doesn’t take much. The margins are pretty small at the top end.
“We lost the game quite convincingly but I’m not disheartened by what we saw in many ways. There’s a lot of improvement in us but we’ve got a month to find that if we’re going to give
ourselves any chance when we get into the (finals).”
Buckley was unsure whether gun midfielder Adams, who pulled up sore at training during the week, would be available for next Sunday’s clash with bottom-placed Gold Coast.