Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley is happy to predict a bright short-term future for his team, despite their problems this year.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley remains bullish about his team, warning the Magpies’ return to AFL power can come quicker than expected.
Apart from finishing outside the top eight this season, the `Pies also lost Luke Ball to retirement.
Then Dayne Beams defected to Brisbane and Heritier Lumumba went to Melbourne in a tumultuous trade period for the club.
But they also picked up emerging North Melbourne midfielder Levi Greenwood, Geelong utility Travis Varcoe and young Brisbane onballer Jack Crisp.
They will also secure highly-rated key position player Darcy Moore as a father-son selection in the national draft.
As Collingwood presented Greenwood, Varcoe and Crisp in their new colours on Wednesday, Buckley was happy to talk up the team’s prospects.
“We’re very aware of the outside perception of where we’re at the moment,” he said.
“The reality is we’re a club that are building towards our next sustained successful period and I’ve got no doubt that that can come a lot sooner than the external perception might suggest.
“We saw great growth in our group in the last 12 months and if we get the same growth again in the next 12, (then) we’ll surprise a few.”
One of the keys will be Collingwood’s overhaul of their fitness regime.
Any chances Collingwood had of staying in the top eight were cruelled towards the end of the season with a rash of injuries.
Under fitness boss Bill Davoren, Collingwood have changed how their players train in the gym.
“It was clear that our injury profile (this) year was not at the level that gave us the chance to compete optimally throughout the year – it affected our output,” Buckley said.
“We’ve shifted our focus on how we’re going to prepare in the gym, less of a power focus and more of a functional strength component.”
Buckley added they also aimed to improve the players’ aerobic fitness, given the emphasis on transition running in the AFL.