Collingwood are prepared to grind their way into form as they look to improve on their disappointing start to the AFL season.
The Magpies are two and one but the standard of play rather than results has attracted the most criticism, with club president Eddie McGuire making it clear heads will roll if they don’t improve.
Ahead of Sunday’s clash with Melbourne at the MCG, coach Nathan Buckley says he’s feeling confident they can better their lacklustre showing against St Kilda.
“There is no doubt we’ll be grinding out the next couple of weeks to perform at a competitive level,” Buckley said.
“Clearly we want to win games of footy, but we are all about getting the basics right first and foremost.
“The danger is we become a bit dour but I’m prepared to pay that price while we re-establish our defensive intent.”
Buckley said the return of Travis Varcoe from injury and Steele Sidebottom from suspension was a welcome boost and admitted they along with Dane Swan, who is out for the season, had been hard to replace.
“We had those players in our plans and they are really important parts of what we do.
“There’s some players who are really crucial and hard to replace and to have Steele and Trav back this week will be very important for the way we play and also for their experience,” Buckley said.
Collingwood’s lack of intensity was exposed by the Saints last round, conceding 114 more uncontested possessions.
McGuire admitted on Fox Footy on Tuesday night he would be prepared to sack Buckley if required, but the coach said he agreed with McGuire’s criticism.
He said everyone at the club demanded better.
“What I got out of Ed’s comments is that he expects better performances, I stand side by side with him in that regard,” Buckley said.
“His (McGuire’s) support has been really evident but the expectation of performance is really clear.
“We’ve started poorly, there is no doubt, but our season is not over and we still have high hopes and expectations I’m very confident we’re going to be able to present a harder, more intense group that’s going to be harder to play against.”