Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has dismissed talk about tumultuous events of years past, insisting he’s totally focused on righting the Magpies’ wobbly ship this season.
Buckley has called for a “harder effort” from his side, which sits precariously at 2-5 on the AFL ladder ahead of a trip to Brisbane.
While Buckley is looking forward, others are looking back.
His predecessor in the job, Mick Malthouse, emerged on Melbourne radio this week to claim the Pies were on the brink of becoming a “mini-dynasty” when he left the job in 2011.
On the Footy Show on Thursday night, revelations of an eight-player group that went to Malthouse and asked him to stay at the club were re-heated.
That group only included one player still at the club – injured midfielder Dane Swan.
As he prepared to fly to Queensland for the crunch clash, Buckley dismissed the reports as irrelevant.
“I understand the interest. But it was five or six years ago. It’s not really going to help us this weekend,” he said of Malthouse’s intervention.
Addressing the player mini-mutiny, Buckley said he had heard about it but he didn’t “know what I’m supposed to do with it”.
“If it happened I didn’t know about it at the time and I don’t know if it’s categorically true.”
Saturday night’s meeting with the Lions takes on greater importance given top sides Geelong and Western Bulldogs loom as the Pies’ next opponents in the fortnight after they return.
James Aish won’t play against his old side, having been dropped to the reserves to find form.
Buckley said the pressure of settling into a new club had counted against Aish, who he backed to return soon enough.
Into the Pies midfield comes key pair Taylor Adams and Travis Varcoe, who Buckley said were “winners and competitors”.
Buckley said the Lions, who will miss Tom Rockliff but gain key defender Daniel Merrett, had shown their best football could be very good indeed.
“They played a really good game against Sydney a couple of weeks ago on their home deck (and) Sydney whacked us by 80 points,” he said.
“We’re under no illusions how tough that challenge is.”