Buckley: Poor ball skills hurt us again


AFL: Nathan Buckley put his sides lose to the Tigers down to their complacency towards their game plan.

Alex Fasolo walks off the ground after Collingwood’s loss. Picture: George Salpigtidis

COLLINGWOOD coach Nathan Buckley lashed his side’s ball movement as the Magpies fell to a 0-2 start to the season for the first time since 2005.

Buckley accused his players of lacking the dare they train with as inaccuracy in front of goal thwarted the chance to break clear of Richmond.

The Tigers won all eight centre clearances in the first half and then scooted clear on the scoreboard in the second half as Buckley said his team “let go” of its effort.

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But Magpies great Tony Shaw leapt to Buckley’s defence, placing the winless start to the season squarely on the players.

“Half these players skill faults are nearly uncoachable,” Shaw tweeted.

The Pies now have an eight-day break before travelling to the SCG to face grand finalist Sydney.

Buckley hinted star forward Jamie Elliott was unlikely to return to play his first game since 2015 as his injury curse continues.

“He did some running today. I think he was OK, I don’t think he knocked it out of the park,” Buckley said.

The Magpies kicked 1.5 from set-shots in the first half before superstar Adam Treloar and Chris Mayne shanked costly set shots in the third quarter.

Chris Mayne’s miss in the third quarter was costly. Picture: George Salpigtidis

Chris Mayne’s miss in the third quarter was costly. Picture: George SalpigtidisSource:News Corp Australia

GWS recruit Will Hoskin-Elliott slotted three final-quarter goals as the game opened up, but the Tigers held the answers in their 14.15 (99) to 11.14 (80) victory at the MCG.

“We had our struggles forward of the ball again,” Buckley said.

“We had a bit of a gap (on the scoreboard), and then we let it go in the third quarter and got run over.

“Our ball use was not what we train. We were far more up and down the line than we’d like to be, and to be honest our structure forward of the ball relies on that.

“We have mechanisms that are there if we’re forced to go down the line. But we just didn’t play with the dare that we’d like to, and it invited a really dour game.”

Will Hoskin-Elliott kept the Magpies in the match with three last-quarter goals. Picture: Getty Images

Will Hoskin-Elliott kept the Magpies in the match with three last-quarter goals. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

The Pies dominated statistics against premier Western Bulldogs last week and Tigers coach Damien Hardwick said Collingwood could easily be 2-0.

But Buckley said his team did not deserve to win either game.

“We’re not happy with our performance tonight,” he said.

“There’s a lot of things that we didn’t do that we rate (and) we had a lot of players down.”

The Pies are missing Elliott, Daniel Wells, Levi Greenwood, Jordan De Goey and Travis Varcoe.

Varcoe will return from suspension against Sydney and Buckley said the other players were badly needed to restore grunt and speed.

“We’re a little bit dour down there (forward line) at the moment,” Buckley said.

“We’re whacking away, but you’d like to do better than that.”

Originally published as Buckley: Poor ball skills hurt us again