Shorter quarters suit Magpies: Buckley

Shayne Hope
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley believes shorter quarters will benefit his side this season

Nathan Buckley believes the shortening of quarters in the AFL this season has already increased the importance of winning stoppages and contested ball.

Furthermore, he thinks that plays perfectly into his side's hands.

On first evidence, there can be little argument.

The Magpies outmuscled and outworked a Western Bulldogs outfit renowned for its contested game in a 52-point win at Marvel Stadium on Friday night.

The 13.8 (86) to 5.4 (34) rout saw the Pies dominate contested possession (123-93) and win the clearance battle (34-21).

"We like contested footy and we know we came up against a side that likes contested ball as well," Buckley said.

"Plus-30 is a great result in a shortened game against a side that we rate (highly) in that particular area.

"That was the most dominant performance that we've put in against a Bulldogs side in the last three or four years and they've been a pretty good side in that time.

"So, yeah, I think the game looks like it's more focused on stoppage and that initial phase out of the contest and we think that suits us."

Quarters have been reduced to 16 minutes plus time-on this year as one of a raft of new measures put in place by the AFL in its bid to complete a season amid the coronavirus crisis.

The shortened periods are designed to reduce the toll on players' bodies - and therefore the necessary recovery time between matches - as the AFL prepares to stage more matches in shorter time frames if the competition is put on hold at any stage.

"We love the way the game's been set up and we love getting a result like that," Buckley said.

"Fundamentally when you get down to it, the parameters of the contest are set and they're the same for both combatants, and then you've got to find the opportunity in those parameters.

"We think it suits us, but we're only one game in, so we'll see how we go."

Collingwood will get another strong gauge of their contested-ball prowess when they take on reigning premiers Richmond at the MCG in round two.