Luke Ball: "I don't think what happened at our club last year was any different to 17 other clubs." Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
Luke Ball says grumblings at Collingwood last season were a result of poor form, and not personal issues with coach Nathan Buckley.
The Magpies underwent major change through the recent draft and free-agency periods, shedding premiership stars Darren Jolly, Dale Thomas, Alan Didak and Heath Shaw, while Andrew Krakouer was moved on.
Thomas, Didak and Shaw had been a part of the club's so-called rat pack, with Jolly later delivering a scathing assessment of Buckley and the manner in which the coach handled the ruckman's unexpected departure.
The cleanout came after the Magpies endured a raft of issues in 2013, largely stumbled through the home-and-away campaign and were mauled by a reinvigorated Port Adelaide in an elimination final.
''I think when you are playing well and winning, that everyone is in a good mood and everyone is happy,'' Ball said.
''Then, when you are not playing so well and certain players might not be playing so well, injuries, all those sort of things, that's when grumbling starts to occur.
''I don't think what happened at our club last year was any different to 17 other clubs.''
Regardless of what did happen last season, Ball said the Magpies were united after returning to training in preparation for the 2014 campaign.
''I can only speak for my club, but the players have come back - possibly to do with the disappointing way we finished last season - in really good spirits,'' he said.
''There has been a lot of changes at our club, but the great thing is we can see that the people in charge of the club are fully supportive of them and want to really work with them and maximise the time when we are at the club.''
There are suggestions Collingwood and captain Nick Maxwell will agree to a change, with Maxwell's deputy, Scott Pendlebury, the obvious successor.
But Ball said Maxwell had been in fine touch through pre-season training, suggesting he is keen to retain the top job he has held since 2009.