Sport AFL Buckley sees light at the end of the tunnel

Buckley sees light at the end of the tunnel

Nathan Buckley
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Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has plenty of things on his mind but, for once, injuries aren’t among them.

The Magpies have whittled down their injury list and are close to a full bill of health for Sunday’s AFL match with Port Adelaide.

Premiership backman Ben Reid made his first AFL start this season against Adelaide, leaving Dane Swan (foot) and Nathan Brown (shoulder) as the only regular first-team players not in contention for Sunday.

Luke Ball (back) trained on Wednesday and Alan Toovey (back) will contend for selection if he trains later in the week.

Buckley said despite Collingwood’s poor VFL loss to Frankston on the weekend, several players put their hand up for senior selection.

“Brodie Grundy played well, (Fasolo) played well, Sam Dwyer played well and Tony Armstrong continued his really good form,” he said.

“(Luke) Bally looked OK. He still has a few hurdles to jump.

“Our injury profile looks as good now as it has all year.”

Collingwood are on a tough run of five losses in six games, and have arrived at a crunch point in their season.

Their tight loss to Adelaide has them out of the top eight for the first time in months and, without a win against the Power on Sunday, they risk staying there.

With his week bookended by MCG clashes against South Australian rivals, the Magpies coach was looking backwards and forwards towards the games.

He had two words to say about umpires boss Hayden Kennedy’s view Travis Cloke was unfairly treated by umpires against the Crows.

“A little bit like `ohh derr,'” he offered.

“It’s been happening for a while and we’ll just keep coaching Trav around attacking the ball at the highest point.”

Prized youngster Matt Scharenberg made his VFL debut on the weekend but Buckley said logic dictated he would not play AFL this season.

Buckley said despite losing to the Crows, he expected his side’s attack on the ball to remain high.

“They are like finals and last week was like a final, I thought the intensity in that game was high,” he said.

“We expect the same thing this week.”