Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has again questioned the umpires’ treatment of key forward Travis Cloke after the pulsating five-point AFL loss to Richmond.
Buckley stressed Cloke’s free-kick count was not the main issue out of the match for the Magpies, who lost 16.9 (105) to 15.10 (100) on Sunday at the MCG.
But it has been a recurring theme throughout Cloke’s career and the Magpies are mystified.
After a week of scrutiny about his goalkicking, the key forward was high among the Magpies’ best with 10 marks and three goals.
Cloke’s free-kick count was one for and four against.
“He dead-set gets nothing from the umps – I don’t know what it is,” Buckley said.
“He gets nothing when it looks like he’s been infringed and he only has to sniff to give a free kick away.
“I really admire the job the umps are doing, but we need to understand what Clokey’s done wrong, because it’s not working for him.
“It’s not the issue of the game, but it’s something on-going.”
After an outstanding clash that featured 10 lead changes, Buckley was left lamenting Collingwood’s tackling inefficiency and a disappointing second term.
Richmond trailed by 25 points late in the first term, but kicked eight goals to three in the second for a 12-point halftime lead.
“It was a breakdown of the way we want to play,” Buckley said of the second term.
“We’ve had 15-20 minute periods in almost everyone of our games, even Anzac Day.
“That’s our challenge, to become a 120-minute football side.”
Midfielder Dane Swan was best for the Magpies, who are now 4-3.
Coming off three-straight losses, the Tigers took several risks and ultimately were rewarded for their daring.
They played two first-gamers – Liam McBean and Conor Menadue – and started second-game defender Todd Elton on Cloke.
Elton’s unexpected role freed Alex Rance to play in the midfield.
Key forward Jack Riewoldt also had some time at the centre bounces on the way to starring with four goals.
Maligned ruck-forward Ty Vickery also returned to form, kicking three goals, while Brett Deledio capped his strong game with two crucial goals in the last term.
Tigers captain Trent Cotchin was best afield, willing his side home with a mighty last quarter.
“When you’re losing games, the first people to cop it in the neck are your leaders from the media’s point of view,” said Tigers coach Damien Hardwick.
“Trent, by his own admission, has had an okay start to the season.
“But I think today was a game that really defines the value of him to our football team.”
Richmond play Port Adelaide away next Sunday and Hardwick said they must put the win over Collingwood behind them quickly.
“We don’t want to get too carried away, it’s a great win against a great side,” Hardwick said.
“But … they handed us a fair beating last year and we’re looking forward to an opportunity to go over there and provide a really good contest.”