COLLINGWOOD coach Nathan Buckley stared his coaching mortality in the eye on Saturday night, but didn't flinch, leading the Magpies to a heroic victory at the MCG.
Down by 43-points and with commentators calling an end to his reign at the Holden Centre, the Magpies staged a remarkable comeback off the back of captain Scott Pendlebury, Adam Treloar and Taylor Adams to post an 18-point victory over Hawthorn.
Buckley was embraced by his wife Tania in the rooms after the match, the rollercoaster game and season clearly evident.
"I was thinking about just jumping in the car and driving home 20 minutes into the first quarter,” Buckley said.
"There were alarm bells going off pretty early in the coaches box even before the scoreboard got really bad.
"We asked the players for a greater effort, we made a few changes in our structure
"It was an excellent response to a scoreboard that looked unfavourable ... to be able to dig deep and arrest the slide showed a lot of character and grit, you've got to enjoy that.”
He said it proved the Magpies season wasn't done.
"The players are clearly still invested, so it's (a feeling of) belief,” Buckley said.
"The players are clearly not ready to throw the towel in and no one at the club is. You might have questioned that 15 minutes into the first quarter.
"I don't think we can ignore the fact there's a pall over the club at the moment and there's a pall over me ... and that's a reality, it's a talking point but if we perform better, we'll be OK.”
Buckley said Pendlebury was critical, even though he was at 80-85 per cent capacity after a knock.
"I thought his class showed,” Buckley said.
Buckley said James Aish was in hospital and would probably miss a number of weeks with a depressed cheekbone.
On tagging prolific Hawk Tom Mitchell, Buckley said he did think of it but: "If I said he wasn't hurting us a lot, would that make sense?”
"He was getting it in the contest but our midfield was getting on top ... we didn't think it got to the point where we needed to sit someone on him.”
The Magpies are still two games out of the eight but a 3-6 ratio sure looks better than 2-7.
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