Buckley, Magpies still eyeing AFL finals

·2-min read

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley is "absolutely" aligned with new club president Mark Korda's belief that finals are still on the agenda for the struggling AFL side this season.

The spotlight has intensified on out-of-contract Buckley after the Magpies slumped to a 1-5 record with defeat to arch-rivals Essendon on Anzac Day.

They enter a crunch clash with Gold Coast at the MCG on Saturday facing significant issues around poor ball use and the availability of key players.

Despite the tough start to the season, Korda this week declared the Magpies could still recover to qualify for the top eight.

Buckley on Wednesday left no doubt he is on the same page.

"Whilst there's a lot of big-picture talk externally, all our conversations are about how we're going to present as best we possibly can and win a game of footy on Saturday afternoon," Buckley said.

"(We're up) against a side who knocked over, quite convincingly, one of the buzz teams of the first three or four rounds, so we've got our hands full now.

"We've lowered our eyes to make sure that we make the most of our next opportunity because looking after that as best we possibly can is going to give us the chance to qualify and contend, whether it's in the short term or the medium term."

Buckley, now in his 10th season at the helm of the Magpies, has maintained throughout the year that he will do whatever is best for Collingwood in regards to his own position beyond this season.

On Wednesday, he confirmed he is eager to continue as coach in 2022 and beyond.

The 48-year-old insisted his coaching style would not be any different if he had a longer contract in place and is confident the uncertainty around his future is not affecting his players.

"Do I want to continue? The short answer is yes," Buckley said.

"As we've been really consistent with, and there still comes questions with it, is that we'll have that conversation in the back half of the year.

"That's what I want to do because regardless of what I think I want to do for Nathan Buckley, the only thing that matters is what's best for the Collingwood footy club."

Explosive star Jordan De Goey (concussion) and defender Mark Keane (suspension) are set to return against Gold Coast in a boost to Collingwood's chances of snapping their four-match losing streak.