Nathan Buckley has plenty of issues to ponder after Collingwood’s disappointing loss to St Kilda but the poor work rate of his forwards is right at the top of the list.
Buckley accused his players of not wanting to roll their sleeves up in the 29-point defeat to the injury-ravaged Saints at the MCG.
He conceded the Pies have issues across the ground after a 1-2 start to the season but his chief concern is his dysfunctional forward line.
“When we get the ball in our front half we need to keep it there and we want to score more when we get there but you have to work hard to do that,” Buckley said.
“Clearly our (forward) defensive structures have collapsed.
“We weren’t able to work hard enough, we gave St Kilda too (much) easy ball movement, we weren’t able to pressure them enough and it puts massive pressure on your back six.”
Buckley continued his experiment of using Scott Pendlebury across half-back, with Taylor Adams and Adam Treloar assigned to do the heavy lifting at the stoppages.
The skipper didn’t have his usual influence and Buckley conceded he could have redeployed his star ball winner to the midfield earlier when St Kilda got a run on in a pivotal third term, despite losing Nick Riewoldt and Paddy McCartin before halftime.
The coach stopped short of forecasting wholesale changes at the selection table in response to the loss but his players are clearly on notice.
“We’ve only seen a snapshot of what we’re capable of,” he said.
“There’s still enough evidence to suggest that we can play the way that we want to play but we’ve haven’t got our heads in the sand.
“If there’s evidence there to the contrary then we need to make shifts.”