Dale Thomas
Dale Thomas

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has played down the seriousness of Dale Thomas' injury suffered in the opening quarter of Saturday's gritty eight-point win over Sydney.

Thomas had to be subbed out of the brutal clash early in the second quarter with what appeared to be a knee injury, although club officials claimed the star midfielder in fact suffered a corked thigh after the match.

The 25-year-old collided heavily with Swans ruckman Shane Mumford in the first term and never fully recovered.

He attempted to play on but emerged from the quarter-time huddle with his right knee heavily iced and only managed a brief appearance after the resumption before he was replaced by substitute Alan Didak.

"Daisy has a corky, he couldn't run it out," Buckley said.

"He's probably one of about half a dozen guys that have copped corkies but I suppose that's not unusual for a game of footy.

"It was a high contested game, as you'd expect when you come up against a team like Sydney, so we'll start our recovery and get going again next week."

Buckley heaped high praise on his charges after they extended their unbeaten run against Sydney to 11 matches.

"It was an excellent win, against a good opposition on their home ground," he said.

"We had plenty of challenges thrown at us throughout the night and I thought the boys just showed a really good concentration, intensity, ticker, hunger, whatever you want to call it.

"It was a very strong four-quarter performance, especially when there were things that weren't going our way at various times but we managed to stick at it and it was a very good win."

"I thought forward of the ball in particular we had some boys that played their roles really well and we just seemed to find that half an inch and half a second when we needed it and made good decisions."

The Pies remain in third spot on the ladder but join Sydney and Adelaide on 60 competition points, eight clear of fifth-placed West Coast and in the box seat to grab a top-four berth at the very least.

But Buckley was quick to quash any talk of a possible minor premiership or ladder position with three regular season rounds still to come.

"People outside the club like to look at permutations and combinations and percentage and ladder positions, etc," he said.

"It obviously matters to finish top four and beyond that it'd be nice to have a home final.

"There's a few interstate clubs floating around in Sydney and Adelaide and West Coast after their win last night so it's something to consider but in the end when you boil it down you've still got to play really good footy.

"Half-way through the third quarter when it's on the line you're not thinking about whether it's going to affect your top-four aspirations or not, you're just really thinking about making sure you're in the right position and you're going to win that next contested ball.

"So we were able to narrow our focus and the players have been rewarded for that."


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