Buckley wants more AFL face time

Collingwood are campaigning for more control of their AFL players as they consider routes to short and long-term success.

In the short term, they face Carlton on Saturday night at the MCG, eager to get one over their arch-rivals after a disheartening loss in round seven.

But the longer game for coach Nathan Buckley is gaining back some of the power ceded to the AFL Players’ Association (AFLPA) to set player schedules.

It’s a fight Buckley is keen to win and one discussed around the kitchen table at league supremo Gillon McLachlan’s house earlier this week at the annual coaches’ dinner.

“The main (issue) for me is clubs being able to control their own program,” he said.

“At the moment, the balance is towards the welfare of the players and the time off.

“We only get access to the guys for three-and-a-half days a week.

“The union is very strong.

“We believe we make good decisions about our players … both for their professional opportunities and their welfare.

“It’s something we’ll keep putting our hands up for and being trusted more from the (AFL) PA and the AFL.

Buckley suggested pampered players shouldn’t get too used to their time off.

“Its a privilege to play the game. You don’t have to play it,” he said.

“There’s plenty of other blokes who have their hands up who aren’t on lists.

“We’re here to win games of footy, produce a really good program and develop great competitors that are good people as well.

“Fundamentally, we’re here to win so we’ve got to find every opportunity we can to do that.”

The biggest question for Buckley at the selection table this week is whether to retain maligned full-forward Travis Cloke.

Darcy Moore’s return to fitness after a month off with a collarbone injury gives Buckley the option to persist or flick Cloke.

Moore’s showing in a key training session on Thursday was enough for Buckley to consider him strongly for Saturday night’s grudge match.

“Darcy got through (so) we’ve got some decisions to make,” Buckley said ahead of the announcement of their round-15 team.

“There’s plenty of ways we can go.

“It’s about the opposition and making sure we put the team on the park that we think can get the job done.”

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