Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley says his side aren’t getting carried away with their lofty AFL ladder position and have room to improve.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley says his team are under no illusions about how they’re travelling despite their lofty AFL ladder position.
The Magpies are eight and three for the season to sit fourth on 32 points – behind runaway leaders Port Adelaide but only trailing Sydney and Hawthorn on for and against.
They will start raging favourites against the 14th-placed Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Despite the impressive statistics, Buckley said his team weren’t getting carried away.
He recognised that their round-two win over the Swans came against a Sydney side in vastly different form to the current title challengers.
“We’re under no illusions about where we sit,” Buckley said.
“When we faced Sydney, they were struggling but the Sydney side in the last month is a very different animal.
“Hawthorn are having their challenges but are still winning games of footy … Fremantle are starting to hit their straps.
“Port Adelaide are taking all before them and have continued their momentum from last year and I haven’t mentioned Geelong yet.”
He said those sides all had the credentials to take the title.
Buckley said while the Magpies had performed “admirably enough”, they were still finding out what their best football looked like.
“I really feel like there’s still massive scope for improvement in us – not just in the medium to long term but in the next four to six weeks to really set ourselves up for whatever the end of the season holds.”
Buckley expected the Bulldogs to bear their teeth after a disappointing eight-point loss to Brisbane last round.
He said one of his team’s strengths this season was that they prepared consistently each week, no matter if they were playing a top or bottom team, and held themselves to their own internal standard.
“We respect what the Doggies will bring to the table as they’re a fierce competitive and contested ball side.
“Their backs are against the wall and they have something to prove so we need to be at our best to get the job done.”
In more good news for Collingwood, new dad Jesse White (finger) and key defender Ben Reid (calf) will both be available for selection.