Collingwood’s finals hopes are dangling by a thread after they stuttered to a 60-point loss to West Coast in Perth on Sunday.
Collingwood are in freefall, but they’re definitely not in denial.
Not one single Collingwood player gave themselves a pass mark after Sunday’s 60-point loss to West Coast at Patersons Stadium.
Apart from a purple patch during the second quarter, Collingwood were uncompetitive and clearly off the boil in their 19.12 (126) to 10.6 (66) defeat to the Eagles.
Six losses from their past eight games have seen the Magpies tumble from fourth to ninth on the table, leaving their finals hopes hanging by a thread.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley promised to swing the axe on the selection front following the poor display, saying his team simply got “sieved” at the key contests.
“We didn’t bring enough intent to the contest. We didn’t bring enough work rate,” Buckley said.
“We weren’t prepared to roll the sleeves up. When I say we – every player.
“We had a quick straw poll of our playing group (measuring) our trademark of attitude and effort.
“(I asked) who is going to give themselves a tick – no hands. Zero hands for the first time all year.
“So to a man, all of them felt they let the team down.”
Collingwood will start as hot favourites to beat Brisbane (home) and GWS (away) over the next fortnight.
But if they are to reach the finals, they will probably need to beat defending premiers Hawthorn in a final-round blockbuster.
Star midfielder Dane Swan and veteran Luke Ball are in contention to return against Brisbane, while 203cm Brodie Grundy is also in the mix following a disappointing display from Collingwood’s bigs.
“Our talls were poor today, both down back and up forward – largely uncompetitive,” Buckley said.
“McGovern took 12 marks, Eric Mackenzie had Clokey covered.
“Wittsy was overshadowed and overcome by the (Eagles’) ruckmen. And Jesse’s efforts were a little bit inconsistent.”
West Coast thought their finals hopes were done and dusted a fortnight ago.
But victories over Adelaide and Collingwood have lifted them to within a win of the top eight ahead of Saturday’s showdown against the eighth-placed Bombers at Etihad Stadium.
“Maybe the pressure valve got released a bit a few weeks ago thinking that the season was over, and that released the shackles a bit,” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.
“This is the test for our group now – to see how much of this is real.”
Star forward Mark LeCras is a chance to return from a calf injury against the Bombers, but Xavier Ellis’ season might be over after he injured the AC joint in his right shoulder.
Simpson said the injury was likely to sideline Ellis for a minimum of two weeks, but scans will confirm the full extent of the damage.
The Eagles’ slick ball movement has been a feature over the past fortnight, but Simpson said it was his players’ improved work at the contests that were paying the biggest dividends.