Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley admits he’s feeling the pressure that another disappointing AFL season has brought to bear on his position at the club.
After making it to a preliminary final in his first season in charge, Buckley’s Pies have finished progressively lower on the ladder in each season since.
The coach said he was as angry at his players and his coaching panel – including himself – as he’d been this season after Friday night’s 15-point loss to Richmond that left them 12th with an 8-11 record.
“Absolutely I feel pressure, but I can’t allow it to stress me because if it stresses me it stresses the players and if it stresses the players it stresses the club,” Buckley said on Fox Footy’s AFL 360 on Monday night.
“If you introduce that to your preparation, let alone your performance, you’re not going to optimise it.
“(But) there are things that we’re doing well behind the scenes … that are to starting to come through in our players and our performances.
“But we’re still not as consistent as we’d like to be.”
The coach is contracted to the club for next season after signing an extension earlier this year.
Buckley has been reluctant to use the Pies’ well-documented injury woes this season as an excuse for their lack of onfield success.
But he pointed to wins against finals-bound teams Greater Western Sydney and West Coast in the past six weeks as evidence the Pies are on the right track.
“Our best footy, even with a decimated list with 22 players that we haven’t had available … we’ve still played a brand of footy that’s been able to beat some pretty good sides,” he said.
“But we’re not consistent enough yet and you can’t be a good team until you’re consistent.”
Collingwood play the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Friday night, with skipper Scott Pendlebury a chance to play after scans on his injured left foot cleared him of serious damage.
Exciting forward Darcy Moore is also a chance to resume from a hamstring injury, while Alex Fasolo and Tim Broomhead underwent season-ending shoulder operations on Monday.