Magpies coach Nathan Buckley.
Magpies coach Nathan Buckley. JULIAN SMITH

Magpies coach insists finals are still within reach

COLLINGWOOD coach Nathan Buckley has no regrets about tying his future to a finals appearance this season, insisting he still thinks the Magpies can make it despite their 1-4 start to the year.

Asked about the comments he made last August when he said he didn't expect to win a new contract if the Magpies missed the finals for a fourth successive year in 2017, Buckley said he had no reason to want to take them back.

"No," the Magpies coach said when asked on Friday. "I have always had fairly high expectations ... I am not saying we are high-performing at the moment, but high-performers always put a little more pressure on themselves than others do.

"I am extremely fortunate to be leading the footy club at this stage. The reality is I have got a job to do. I will get assessed by the ability to do that job, which comes back to wins and losses, which is where I was coming from last year. But (the pressure) is definitely outside the four walls.

"We are actually in control of our destiny and until that is no longer the case, you don't lift your eyes or take your focus off the things you can actually impact on.

"We are still aiming to play finals, we are one and four, we play a top-of-the-table Cats team, that's as far as we can afford to look."

Buckley said he was "going okay", despite the external pressure building on him ahead of Sunday's game with Geelong at the MCG, which he described as a "David and Goliath clash", given the Cats are undefeated.

But he said he had had enormous support from those within the Collingwood Football Club this week, including from president Eddie McGuire, saying it had been heartening in a tough aftermath to Tuesday's Anzac Day loss to Essendon.

"What I do have is great support internally," he said when quizzed about his own welfare and mindset. "I have been asked that question a fair bit this week, in particular.

"The support of the president and the board is always dependent on results, and the support of a coach to his players is dependent on executing your roles. But underneath all that is we are tight-knit, we are in it for the same reasons, we want to be successful. So Eddie's support is appreciated."

He is confident the Magpies can hit back hard this week against the Cats, despite the five-day break.

News Corp Australia


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