Buckley fears Pie slide
Blues forward Eddie Betts celebrates after kicking a goal in the third quarter. Photo: Paul Rovere
COLLINGWOOD coach Nathan Buckley has questioned the hunger of his side and says it faces a massive challenge to avoid going backwards this year.
Friday night's 10-goal loss to a very impressive Carlton was compounded by injuries to Luke Ball (knee) and Ben Reid (quad).
With confirmation yesterday that Ball will miss the rest of the season, the more pressing issue was that no one filled the breach when Ball was forced out of the game and fellow midfielder Scott Pendlebury was kept quiet.
Already, Collingwood's two losses equal the number from last year's entire home-and-away season.
Buckley described Friday night's belting as a ''wake-up call''.
''There were some honest words spoken and we understand that we've got to really get our hands dirty from now on in,'' the first-year coach said.
''It can't be left to a few blokes to do the job, because at some stage those guys aren't going to be there and we're going to have young blokes that have to stand up.''
He questioned whether the hunger that delivered the 2010 flag and last year's grand final appearance remained.
''When you've been a part of that, you either come along for the ride and think that it's going to last forever, or you dig in, you roll your sleeves up and you're prepared to be better,'' Buckley said.
''A team like Geelong [has] been able to keep going back to the well time and time again. I think they're a side and [have] an attitude that we can aspire to. Perhaps we haven't been able to nail it.
''If we thought we were going along in the right direction as coaches and as players in 2012, then we've just found out we better sharpen up a little bit.''
The Blues are 3-0 for the first time since 1995, but coach Brett Ratten warned against them becoming overconfident and losing focus.
''It's a tough season, the longevity of the season takes its wear and tear on players and to make sure we can manage our list is so critical,'' he said. ''We don't want to be getting fat heads.''