Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury has urged his teammates to embrace the pressure and scrutiny their disappointing start to the AFL season has brought on the club.
Pendlebury said the beleaguered Pies are frustrated and angry after slumping to a shock 1-3 record, having failed to put together a complete four-quarter effort in the first month of the season.
There will be nowhere to hide when they take on Essendon on the big stage of Monday’s Anzac Day blockbuster at the MCG, but the skipper sees that as the perfect platform to turn their season around.
“All eyes are on us, the pressure is on us so embrace it,” Pendlebury said on Tuesday.
“We know that the pressure is on us, we know that the pressure is on our football club … we play AFL and all eyes are on us.
“I think all of the guys know and acknowledge that and we hope there is a real spike (in performance) this week.
“I think any side that’s not 4-zip in the competition would be angry and we’re 1-3 so, yeah, we’re frustrated.
“(But) it’s no good going out there with frustration and playing with a foggy head. We need to be clear-minded and ready to go.”
Despite suffering a shock 35-point loss to Melbourne last week, Pendlebury feels Collingwood turned a corner against the Demons.
He defended embattled coach Nathan Buckley’s game plan, saying it was impossible to accurately assess it without the requisite effort and application from the players.
Spearhead Travis Cloke has borne the brunt of criticism after managing just five goals in four games.
Pendlebury acknowledged he was one of a number of players who need to lift their games, but added goals weren’t the only measure he was assessed by.
“For Clokey, everyone looks at him and thinks he needs to kick five or six goals,” he said.
“But we need him to be pressuring, laying tackles and crashing packs – those little things that are so strong in his game – we need them to return first.”