Buckley expects few AFL changes to ‘Pies

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley does not plan to overhaul the Magpies’ side in the wake of their round-one AFL horror show.

Sydney belted the Magpies by 80 points last Saturday night, making Friday night’s match against Richmond a stern early-season test.

Collingwood must make at least two changes, with Dane Swan facing an uncertain future over his foot fractures and fellow midfield star Steele Sidebottom suspended for two matches.

Otherwise, Buckley wants to back his team.

“If we’re going to knee-jerk off the back of one game, after having what we believe was a really strong and solid preparation, well then I think you’d have to look at the coaching group,” he said.

Injury-plagued swingman Ben Reid is a big chance to return after playing over the weekend in the VFL.

“He was touch and go last week and he got through the game really well,” Buckley said.

Swan needs surgery for his fractures and probably will not play again this season.

Given he is 32, there are doubts about whether he can return.

“It is too early to speculate – we don’t know,” Buckley said.

“I’m sure he’ll have an idea on what his future is and an idea on what he wants to do about it.

“But I think even he needs to get more information before he can make that judgment.”

In the wake of Saturday night, there is a focus on Magpies key forward Travis Cloke and his slow start to the season.

“If we could give him a bit more supply, it would be handy,” Buckley said.

“Clokey has been a bit quiet through the early stages of the year and he’d be looking to have a big one.

“I don’t think he’s in good form and there’s only one way to get your way out of that … hard work and having a real crack.

“There’s a lot of focus on Clokey – let’s see how he goes on Friday night.”

Buckley said it was vital that Collingwood returned to being a good contested-ball side.

“If you don’t tip into that, you’re no chance,” he said.

“We’ve prided ourselves on being a grunt side, a side that is really good in the contest.”

Late last year, star recruit Adam Treloar said he thought Collingwood had a better list than Richmond.

But Buckley doubts those comments will count for anything this week.

“A lot of that stuff is good for the supporters to read, but it doesn’t really have much influence on the game,” he said.

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