Magpies must improve in 2010: Buckley - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies must improve in 2010: Buckley

By Adam Cooper 09/11/2009 06:47:15 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood must next year improve on a string of recent exits from the finals or consider 2010 a move in the wrong direction, according to new Magpies assistant coach Nathan Buckley.

Buckley admitted to experiencing butterflies before the Magpies began their pre-season campaign on Monday and it was a mixture of his nerves and competitiveness that he found himself wanting to join his former teammates on a 2km time trial.

But the former skipper was confident he could divorce himself sufficiently to focus on beginning his coaching apprenticeship under Mick Malthouse and helping push the Magpies beyond finishes of fourth, sixth, fourth and seventh the past four seasons.

With ex-Sydney ruckman Darren Jolly the only addition to Collingwood's squad, Buckley pinned his hopes on the side's improvement coming from within if it was to narrow the gap on Geelong, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs.

"We're a very young list so there's going to be some improvement in that regard," he said.

"You'd like to think that every player on the list can improve and with that should come natural improvement from the team.

"Year by year you expect to get better and if Collingwood's not better next year it will be going backwards."

Collingwood's plan is for Buckley to take the reins as senior coach for the 2012 season, but Buckley's primary focus next season will be having the forward line function well.

In that regard Buckley was pleased to see key forward Travis Cloke working hard after a frustrating 2009 season, and was hopeful Sean Rusling could overcome his wretched fortune of recent years to provide the attack with a new dimension.

Rusling, 23, has impressed as a leading forward in 17 games, but has not played since round one of 2008 because of shoulder injuries as well as a hip problem and fractured cheekbone in 2009.

"It would be great to see him play a full season without injury, wouldn't it?" Buckley said.

"Everyone understands he's an exciting player and the snippets that we've seen of him when he's up and running have whet the appetite.

"He needs a bit of luck, that's what he needs. Then we'll see where he goes from there."

Young midfielder Steele Sidebottom impressed in the time trial of the 30 players who took part, and Collingwood reported they largely had a clean bill of health at this stage.

Malthouse is on leave and did not oversee the session, and Buckley was joined by two other new assistant coaches, former West Coast onballer Scott Watters and former St Kilda fullback Max Hudghton.

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