Buckley hoping to play in AFL in 2007 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Buckley hoping to play in AFL in 2007

By Adam Cooper 18/07/2007 06:54:50 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood captain Nathan Buckley admits he has no right to be confident of playing in the AFL this season or beyond after suffering yet another hamstring injury.

Buckley's aim of bolstering the Magpies soon plummeted on Monday, when he tore his right hamstring at training, seven weeks after injuring his left.

Buckley estimates the latest recurrence is his sixth hamstring injury of 2007, and has raised doubts over whether he can take any part in Collingwood's premiership campaign or, given he turns 35 next week, whether he will ever play again.

Having exhausted almost every recovery path, the champion midfielder is now resigned to abandoning all caution at training over the next month to ready his body should his troublesome hamstrings mend before the finals.

But he concedes with only seven home and away games left time is running out for him to return, although he draws hope from the form of his team-mates, who have carried the Magpies to sixth after round 15 with a charmed run-home to come.

"At our best we're capable of anything this year, and the longer Collingwood's season goes the longer my hopes linger, so I'll be making sure that I take every opportunity to put myself in the frame," Buckley said.

"I've got no right to be confident at all.

"I wouldn't call it confidence, but it's hope.

"I think in many ways I've been molly-coddled a little and we've tried to `not do too much of that because this flares up' and `modify that training a little bit'.

"Right through my career I've always gone on the premise that more is better and I've had to adjust that over the last two or three years.

"I'm just going to go for broke now, train as hard as I can."

Buckley said he was disappointed at his latest setback, but appeared more resigned to his plight, and admitted he could only hope to play - a far cry from a man renowned for self-confidence.

He believes his best-case scenario is for coach Mick Malthouse and the Collingwood match committee to consider him for the last few rounds of the home and away season or a final without any match practice.

"I hope that's a decision we need to make," he said.

"If I get up and about towards the end of the year and in the finals I'll be flying, I'll be fit as, because ... the program that I'm going to have in place isn't so much cotton wool as steel mesh.

"I'll make sure that I'm right to go if I get the opportunity to put my hand up."

Buckley said he was yet to consider playing in 2008 because he was focused on this campaign, but admitted his injuries were age-related.

"I might be spent. I know the body is packing up but I've got an opportunity," he said.

"There is light at the end of the tunnel and I've got to keep driving towards that."

Buckley missed a combined 18 games through hamstring troubles in 2004-05, but played 21 of a possible 23 games last year when he was twice rested through the campaign.

In better news for Collingwood, key defenders James Clement and Simon Prestigiacomo trained on Wednesday and are getting close to a return from leg injuries, although they will both miss Saturday's game against Essendon.

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