Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley is normally a glass half full kind of guy, but even he couldn’t help but focus on the missing half following Sunday’s 62-point capitulation to West Coast at Domain Stadium.
The Magpies were horrible in the first and fourth quarters.
But in between, they were sublime.
Trailing 53-14 early in the second quarter, Collingwood launched a spirited comeback to close the gap to just 10 points approaching three-quarter time.
With all the momentum going their way, an upset loomed.
But West Coast’s reply was as quick as it was brutal.
The Eagles booted the next nine goals to secure the 18.16 (124) to 9.8 (62) win, with the result bringing the Magpies back to earth following their 69-point win over Essendon on Monday.
“The game goes for four quarters, so you can’t play two and expect to get the result,” Buckley said.
“The good was good and the bad was bad, and there wasn’t a lot in between.
“I think what you saw today is about where we’re at.
“We can play football that can challenge and question some of … the best sides in the competition.
“But we’re not playing four quarters.”
West Coast would have iced the game a lot earlier if not for their shoddy goalkicking – an issue that has become a recurring theme this season.
Josh Kennedy booted 3.6 to take his season tally to 17.16, while Mark LeCras (3.3) was also wasteful at key times.
“There’s some goals we’re missing at the moment. I can’t shy away from that,” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.
“But it’s a broken record. I keep talking about it. It’s a mindset thing.
“And to train it during the week is hard. I just keep telling our players to back themselves in.”
Eagles goalsneak Jamie Cripps kicked three goals in the final-quarter onslaught, including the goal that broke Collingwood’s spirits.
With the game in the balance, a slip from Collingwood’s Josh Smith just as he was about to receive a handball proved costly.
Cripps swooped on the loose ball, sprinted 40m before nailing the 40m running goal.
Collingwood’s American recruit Mason Cox finished with two goals from 10 disposals in another encouraging performance.
But with West Coast winning the inside 50m count 60-33, there was only going to be one winner.
Defender Tom Langdon injured his ankle in the third term, while Ben Sinclair copped another heavy knock to his head, but was able to pass the concussion test.
The Eagles suffered a blow before the match when star midfielder Elliot Yeo withdrew because of tonsillitis, but Simpson says the former Lion will be available for Saturday’s clash with Geelong at Simonds Stadium.
Buckley faces a tough decision about whether to recall out-of-form forward Travis Cloke for Saturday’s clash with Carlton at the MCG.
Cloke booted just 1.4 in the VFL over the weekend, but Buckley says the 29-year-old will be judged on work rate and contest, rather than goals kicked.