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Collingwood need to harden up: Buckley

Football

Nathan Buckley has called on Collingwood to harden up, conceding the side’s effort is the poorest it has ever been in his stint coaching the AFL club.

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Buckley, who signed a contract extension earlier this year, reaffirmed his belief last night that he is the right man to coach the Magpies.

But the fifth-year mentor, who has come under increasing pressure this season, added he will be judged on wins and losses.

The 14th-placed Magpies have won just four of their past 18 games, with serious issues surfacing again in a 15-point loss to Carlton at the MCG.

“For the first time in my time at the club we’re picking and choosing a little bit on the field,” Buckley told Fox Footy.

“You can’t win games of footy when you’re like that.

“We need to harden up as a playing group. Harden up as a coaching group and harden up as a club if we’re going to get anything out of this year.”

Buckley added he’d been lying awake at night, trying to come up with some solutions.

“[In previous seasons] we have been gritty and we still see ourselves as a hard-nosed, contested-ball side,” he said.

“But our recent performances haven’t showed that.

“You’re always looking for answers… the answer is always pretty simple: Work harder. Put your head down.”

The Magpies are unlikely to feature in finals after a woeful 2-5 start to the year but Buckley denied this season was already a write-off.

“We’re still searching for what we need right now… we put our best 22 out on the park every week. It hasn’t been good enough,” he said.

“We need to start winning games of footy … when the music stops, that [win-loss record] is all that counts in this caper.”

Asked if his confidence had waned, Buckley replied: “Not at all. Not in the playing group either.”

He suggested injuries and inexperience were no excuse.

“That is not something to lean on,” he said.

But the club is under siege, with Eddie McGuire admitting yesterday he briefly contemplated stepping down as Collingwood president following the weekend’s upset against their old enemy.

McGuire, who has been the Magpies figurehead for 18 years, was left questioning his own position after the match.

“I haven’t been that laid low from the footy for a long, long time,” McGuire said on Triple M.

“I was completely shattered, as were our supporters who were giving me their honest and frank opinion.

“You question yourself … can you go through it again? Have you got any more ideas?

“I don’t know if I could impact on the club.”

McGuire said he rediscovered his conviction following a discussion with his children on Sunday.

-AAP

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