‘This week could be the week’: Buckley confident Pie forwards will connect

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley says Saturday’s clash with Adelaide could be the week his side finds the missing piece to their forward connection.

The Pies have been criticised for their defensive brand of football in recent weeks, but Buckley says there have been plenty of positives to their new game style which has kept them in games for longer.

Nathan Buckley at Pies training on Thursday.Credit:Getty Images

“We don’t intend to be dour but at the moment it’s been a step we’ve gone through and we just haven’t been able to convert our opportunities, whether it’s been accuracy or that connection inside forward-50 to kick a score we believe we’re capable of. This week could be the week for that.”

The Magpies, who travel to Adelaide on Saturday morning, will be without star ruckman Brodie Grundy, with Max Lynch stepping in to fill the void against Adelaide’s Riley O’Brien.

Chris Mayne “is unable to make the trip across” and has been managed, which will give Jay Rantall another senior opportunity.

The Magpies will continue to experiment with a midfield minus Scott Pendlebury, who will play forward again. Steele Sidebottom, Jack Crisp and Brayden Sier have been named in the starting midfield, while Josh Daicos, Jordan De Goey, Trent Bianco, Elliott and Thomas are also likely to get midfield minutes.

But Buckley believes his side can find its third win of the season against the Crows.

“I’m not an odds man but before the game last week I did catch the big screen and it had us at $4.20 to win the game of footy against $1.20 for Geelong to win and I was really confident we could go and win that game of football,” he said.

“There were a lot of things we got right despite the criticism and critique that’s come out of that game.

“I don’t know what the odds are going into this week. Adelaide are playing some really good footy, their energy is high, they love a high-tempo game so they’re going to pose some real challenges to us.

“Whilst we are building for [the] medium and long term, we go into every match wanting to win that match and wanting to display our best football and build on our best football and that’s our endeavour tomorrow.”

Buckley added that Ash Johnson, a medium forward drafted out of the SANFL on Wednesday night, would join the group next week and may play senior football later this season.

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