Collingwood had their colours lowered in Saturday’s shock loss to Melbourne but the Pies aren’t running up the white flag just yet.
After an 8-3 start to the season, the chances of Nathan Buckley’s making the finals have diminished on a weekly basis, with their 37-point loss to the Demons – their sixth in a row – realistically leaving them a mathematical chance only.
“We want to play finals – internally we set our sights on playing finals in season 2015,” Buckley said.
“But we haven’t set the external agenda at any stage – we’ve just been about putting our heads down and performing as well as we possibly could as often as we possibly could.
“We’ve been unable to do that in recent times but we’ll dust ourselves off and we’ll continue to try and win games and see where it gets us.”
The Pies have at least had some sort of positive to hang their hats on in their previous five losses – four of them to sides in the top six – but the same couldn’t be said for the uneven display against the Demons that ended with a goalless final term capitulation.
“I’ve struggled to find many times through the year when our players just haven’t tipped in, when they haven’t provided a great effort,” Buckley said.
“But this game would probably the closest thing to not tipping in that effort that we’ve seen.
“There’s a bit of an economy of hope that takes place and we’ve lost a little bit of it over the last month.
“You need to get reward for effort.”
Collingwood’s makeshift forward line, missing spearhead Travis Cloke, managed just seven goals despite the Pies having 14 more inside 50s than Melbourne.
Jamie Elliott was something of a surprise substitute to start the game in his return from a back injury, but Buckley said the move was part of the livewire forward’s return to full fitness.