K rock Football

Magpies go back to basics

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

COLLINGWOOD has added another training session to their weekly workload in an effort to snap an AFL slump that has featured one win from eight consecutive games.

The Magpies suffered a one-point loss to Port Adelaide at the MCG last week, when skill errors proved costly yet again, and things won’t get any easier against an in-form Geelong at the same venue on Saturday.

Coach Nathan Buckley, who has all but conceded finals are no longer on the agenda for his 16th-placed side, revealed the club’s football department decided a month ago to squeeze an additional skills session into every week.

Buckley added the decision was made after consulting with players, who outside an 18-point victory over North Melbourne have had little to celebrate in April and May.

“We believe that (the benefit of that change) is starting to come through now,” Buckley told reporters.

“There is a price to pay with that because you might be putting a little bit extra load into your players.

“But I think that’s the price we needed to pay in the short term to get that work in.”

Collingwood has been forced to omit vice-captain Taylor Adams because of a fresh knee injury, while veteran Levi Greenwood remains in a holding pattern because of the delayed concussion he suffered six weeks ago.

“He still has some concussion symptoms,” Buckley said.

“He actually beats himself up quite a bit because he wants to contribute to his teammates and puts a lot of pressure on himself.

“That may well be part of it. The fact is at the moment he’s cleared to do skills work with no contact and until we know any further, that’s what he’ll continue to do.”

Midfielder and lifelong Collingwood fan Trent Bianco will become the club’s seventh debutant in a season that has been overshadowed by president Eddie McGuire’s departure and ensuing boardroom rumblings.

“Trent’s been a mascot and run out onto the MCG before with the team but this will be a little bit different,” Buckley quipped.

It will be the clubs’ first meeting since Geelong ended the Magpies’ 2020 campaign in emphatic fashion, recording a 68-point win in a semi-final.

“I don’t think we can go to school that much (on that final). We just didn’t turn up, we looked like we were gassed and out of legs,” Buckley said.

“The Cats are playing remarkable football.”

(C) AAP 2021