Sidelined Collingwood stars Jordan De Goey and Jeremy Howe have come under scrutiny after controversial change room footage emerged of the pair during Friday night's loss to West Coast.
The under-fire Magpies are counting the cost on multiple fronts after a second-quarter masterclass from Jack Darling helped guide West Coast to a 27-point victory at Optus Stadium.
'LOVE TO SEE IT': AFL fans savage ScoMo in brutal live moment
'DONATE HIS SALARY': Brutal call to axe $900k AFL recruit
'STUPID THINGS': Eddie McGuire's heated clash over 'debacle' claim
The Magpies led by 15 points after an impressive opening term on Friday night, but the loss of star duo Jordan De Goey and Jeremy Howe to injury proved costly as the Eagles eventually ran out 16.7 (103) to 11.10 (76) winners.
The injured Collingwood stars could also be counting the cost of an AFL rules breach after footage showed them on mobile phones in the change rooms during the match.
Both players came off before halftime but were seen by TV cameras with their phones in the Collingwood sheds.
De Goey could be seen grabbing the devices from a valuables box, before handing one of the phones to Howe, in what constitutes a breach of AFL game-day protocol.
SEN's Sam Edmunds insisted that both players could expect to be sanctioned over the incident.
“The AFL integrity department will seek answers from Collingwood over why Jordan De Goey and Jeremy Howe accessed their phone during the loss to West Coast. Pies could yet be fined for a clear rule breach given players are banned from using phones in rooms from siren to siren.”
Each AFL club has 10 designated staff who are permitted to use mobile phones throughout the duration of a match involving their team, but players are strictly forbidden to do so.
“Not a hanging offence at this stage, but the AFL are going to ask the question and it could in fact lead to a financial sanction for the club,” Edmunds added.
“I don’t think the league would have liked the look of it on prime time television, the players going to grab their mobile phones.”
THE AFL integrity department will seek answers from Collingwood over why Jordan De Goey and Jeremy Howe accessed their phone during the loss to West Coast. Pies could yet be fined for a clear rule breach given players are banned from using phones in rooms from siren to siren.
— Sam Edmund (@Sammy__Edmund) April 17, 2021
— Harrison Mills (@Harrison_Mills) April 16, 2021
De goey and how have their phones out. #AFLEaglesPies
— Lachlan Steele (@Lachy_Steele) April 16, 2021
Former Melbourne strategy coach Craig Jennings says he's sure the "AFL won't be pleased" by the situation and expects the league to take tough action.
“The moment you walk into the footy club on game day, your phone goes in a box and you don’t see it again to until post game. In the end, I just didn’t even take my phone to the game, I just left it at work,” he said.
“What’s really interesting is through the AFL level four (coaching) program, which we’re in our third year now, a lot of the first year was really around sports ethics and gambling and risks and all those sorts of things.
“I’m really surprised that the players have done this. I’ve got a feeling the AFL won’t be pleased and I can see a bit of a sanction coming.”
More misery for Pies after latest defeat
The injuries to De Goey and Howe have come at a bad time for the Magpies, who are now 1-4 and are also without star midfielder Taylor Adams for at least another nine weeks.
West Coast suffered their own major blow during the week when Liam Ryan was cut down by a stress reaction in his shin that could sideline him for up to eight weeks.
Defender Tom Cole suffered a horrific clash of heads with teammate Josh Rotham late in Friday's match but Simpson is optimistic there wasn't a concussion.
Collingwood bucked the odds to beat West Coast by one point in last year's elimination final in Perth, and their spirited opening quarter would have given their fans hope for a repeat result.
Ruckman Brodie Grundy drifted forward to boot two goals from two strong marks, while Moore added one himself to give the Magpies the momentum.
But the game turned dramatically from that point on courtesy of Darling's second-quarter rampage.
Darling finished with 5.1 from 15 disposals, while Oscar Allen was also critical with five goals and four contested marks in arguably his best game at AFL level.
Midfielder Dom Sheed iced the game late in the third quarter with three goals in the space of two minutes, while Jeremy McGovern was brilliant in defence.
"Jack stood up, Dom had a little period of brilliance there, and I thought McGovern was our best player," Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.
Buckley rolled the dice by sending defender Darcy Moore into attack, and the All-Australian finished with three goals and eight marks from nine disposals.
Moore had four disposals and a goal in the opening term, but his next possession didn't come until the 10-minute mark of the fourth quarter when he booted his second goal.
The margin blew out to 41 points at the final change, with a three-goal fightback from Collingwood early in the last quarter proving too little, too late.
Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.