Nathan Buckley
Nathan Buckley

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has refused to blame some critical umpiring decisions for influencing the Magpies' 38-point qualifying final loss to Hawthorn on Friday night.

During the first quarter it looked like Magpies defender Harry O'Brien had laid a textbook tackle on Jarryd Roughead as the Hawks ruckman dropped the ball.

But play was allowed to go on and the ball spilled out for Luke Breust to goal.

And a minute into the third quarter an umpiring decision seemed to really swing momentum in Hawthorn's favour.

Trailing by 18 at the main break, the Magpies looked set to cut that to 12 when Travis Cloke lined up from point-blank range in the quarter's opening minute.

But before Cloke could slot it, an umpire adjudged that Chris Tarrant had interfered with Lance Franklin in the middle of the ground, giving the Hawks a free kick that Franklin used to set up a goal for David Hale.

It was a moment Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson described as an 'important play' and one Buckley clearly wasn't happy with.

"I didn't see what the free kick was for," Buckley said.

"Clearly that hurts when you're going to have a shot at goal from 10 metres out.

"It's a 12-point turnaround when the opposition goes down and scores and I was told before the game that you'd need to commit homicide to get a free kick given against you ... didn't seem to be the case for us.

"(But) the last thing I'm going to do is sit here and say that we lost the game because of umpiring, because that's not a fact.

"You need to be good enough, long enough in enough areas to be able to buffer that and we weren't tonight.

"Hawthorn were the deserved winners and it was for a lot of reasons that they were in control of."

One of those reasons was some exceptional clearance work by the Hawthorn midfield, particularly from Sam Mitchell (12 clearances) and Brad Sewell (six).

"It was nine goals to three after half-time and there's your margin, that's the scores from the stoppages," Buckley said.

"We were minus eight in the clearances (actually 50-39) and in the last quarter we were minus 12 contested possessions, you're not going to win many games of footy."

However, there were still some positives for the coach to draw on, especially after seeing his side produce exceptional pressure footy during the game that translated into Cloke booting six goals and Andrew Krakouer four.

"We've lost our double chance tonight but I think we're closer to where we need to get to," Buckley said as he now prepares for a semi-final clash with either West Coast or North Melbourne, who play on Sunday.

"I think our method, moving the ball, is better now than it was a month ago.

"I think we've got a better chance of playing winning footy with what we're doing at the moment and it's helping a bloke like Trav, he steps up over the last couple of weeks and hits the scoreboard.

"We just weren't able to get him in enough one-on-one contests. We weren't able to get the ball down there often enough."

Buckley also denied his side had a discipline problem on Friday night, despite skipper Nick Maxwell being reported for rough conduct against Paul Puopolo, while the retiring Tarrant may have played his last game for the club if he is cited for any incidents during his running battle with Franklin.


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