Prominent AFL commentator Mark Robinson says Collingwood's silence over head coach Nathan Buckley's performance does not bode well for his future at the club.
A hard-hitting reporting from Fox Footy's Tom Morris on Tuesday suggested Buckley was struggling to maintain authority among the playing group.
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Some senior players were reportedly questioning Buckley's style, while others have been left 'perplexed' by the acrimonious circumstances surrounding former midfielder Adam Treloar's departure from the club.
With the Magpies still smarting after the resignation of president Eddie McGuire as a result of the damning 'Do Better' report which exposed systemic racism within the club, Robinson said it was becoming clear that Buckley was running out of friends at Collingwood.
“My feeling is, and this is just my opinion, this is not fact, but there’s a sense of familiarity I’m feeling about what’s happening right now,” Robinson told AFL 360.
“More often than not that ends with the departure of the coach. I think, and again this is only my opinion, we are seeing the start of the end of Nathan Buckley at Collingwood.
“It seems to me at the moment that Nathan Buckley is on his own island. Where’s any of the public support from people in positions of power at that club?"
As Collingwood continue their search for McGuire's successor, Robinson said the two most senior men at the club, Mark Korda and Peter Murphy, needed to publicly back the embattled coach.
Without their support, Robinson posited, it would be difficult to see Buckley hanging on to the head coaching job long term.
“The fight over who’s (the next) president, park that — come out and say something, Mark Korda and Peter Murphy. I think there might be internal struggles, but someone say something," Robinson said.
“I reckon a lot of them (board members) in their heart know whether Buckley is the man to rebuild this club. I honestly believe they do.
“What else do they have to learn about Nathan Buckley? Now the small issue is, which could become a really big issue: How’s the relationship between Nathan Buckley and his players?”
Magpies eye AFL response against Eagles
Collingwood will draw on last year's elimination final triumph against West Coast as they attempt to deliver another backs-to-the-wall performance in Perth to reinvigorate their stuttering AFL season.
The Magpies sit 1-3 after they slumped to an upset loss to Greater Western Sydney in round four, while vice-captain Taylor Adams (knee) and forward Jamie Elliott (fibula) are both on the sidelines for an extended period.
Coach Nathan Buckley conceded there was a question mark over Collingwood's "winning intent" and "edge" in the opening month while they needed to quickly address "ebbs and flows" in their contested-ball work.
"What the supporters want to see is what we want to see - which is the line between where you are now and where you're going," he said.
"You want it to be tracking up.
"We can't say that we've shown or displayed that in the first month.
"There's no doubt that we're capable of playing better footy and we want to be playing better footy.
"So we can only resurrect that with our actions. The words are going to be cheap at the moment."
The Magpies have a handy playbook for facing the Eagles on Friday night - last year's extraordinary one-point triumph at Optus Stadium.
"Last year was a really good performance for us but that was last year," Buckley said.
"This is a whole new ball game and we've got to look to find our connection as a team unit if we're to compete against anyone, full stop, and if we're to get the result this week.
"I'm sure we do (draw on that win) ... we do have recent really strong contested battles against the Eagles and we've obviously got fairly good memories of that elimination final.
"It was a really strong performance in a really close game so we'd love to replicate that."
Last year's draft pick No.19 Finlay Macrae, the younger brother of Western Bulldogs player Jack, will debut against West Coast but Buckley said the Magpies won't simply "play the kids" in a bid to reinvigorate their season.
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