Collingwood keep showing they are good enough, but can they be great?
While the Magpies’ lapse in goalkicking cost them dearly on Friday night, there was a lot to like about them in the 10-point AFL loss to Hawthorn.
They never gave up and had five more scoring shots than the Hawks.
But coach Nathan Buckley has warned the next step in his young team’s development will not come automatically.
“The next step is to go from good to great on-field and we’ve got great standard and using Phil Walsh’s terms, we’ve got elite standards on and off the field,” Buckley said.
“It’s the last point for us, and this can take a week or two years or three years or you could never get there, that transition from understanding you’re good but allowing yourself to be great.
“We’re really in the infancy of that and how long that takes is up to us and our belief.”
‘Pies captain Scott Pendlebury again showed on Friday night he is at the game’s highest level with a command performance.
“I’m glad someone asked that – that’s as good as I’ve seen him play,” Buckley said when asked about the midfielder’s game.
“He’s played some pretty good games, (but) 20 contested possessions, 10 clearances, 10 tackles, 37 touches – that’s fairly dominant and I thought he was everywhere.”
The goalkicking inaccuracy was far less palatable for Buckley – and also came as a rude surprise.
They kicked a wasteful 2.9 in the third term.
“We’ve been the No.1 scoring accuracy side, for total shots on goal, all year,” he said.
“Taking your chances is part of being a good or very good football side and maybe that’s the licence we’re talking about, to take that next step.”
For all the frustration of the loss, it strongly suggested they are on not far off breaking their eight-game losing streak against the reigning premiers.
“We’ve been competitive for two and a half quarters, three quarters, but then they’ve blown us out,” Buckley said.
“That didn’t happen (on Friday night).
“But who’s to say when we break the duck, that we don’t break it by 30-40 points.
“We’re not aiming to just get level with sides.
“We’re not aiming to be just at 80 per cent of our capacity, we want to fill our boots and see where we can get to.”
‘Pies defender Travis Varcoe was reported for his high contact with Cyril Rioli in the last quarter.