Pressure on Pies to stop Eagles soaring
COLLINGWOOD will head west with a mission to stop the aerial impact of Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass as they strive to end a four-game losing run against reigning premiers West Coast.
The Magpies have backed out-of-form forward Mason Cox to help restrict one of the AFL's premier intercept duos - who have combined for 34 marks in their past two matches against Collingwood.
Hawthorn's James Sicily was instrumental in Collingwood's downfall last week, reeling in 14 marks in a commanding display across halfback.
The Magpies have conceded a repeat effort against the Eagles defence - led by McGovern, Barrass and Shannon Hurn - will spell trouble.
"Being able to compete in the front half is definitely something we can improve on over the last couple of weeks and it's definitely a challenge that the Eagles throw at you," Buckley said.
Cox has come under scrutiny after below-par performances in losses to North Melbourne and the Hawks.
Champion Data statistics show Cox averaged 10.5 disposals, 5.9 marks and 1.9 tackles during a breakout run between Round 16 and last year's grand final.
In the past two weeks, the American has been limited to 2.5 marks, 7.5 possessions and only laid one tackle.
"He's not going to mark everything but we do need him to compete really heavily as we do with all our forwards or our key backs," he said.
"Our aerial work wasn't great last week in the front half against Hawthorn and it needs to be.
"It needs to be better this week if we're to give ourselves a chance."
Collingwood has been restricted to 71 inside-50s in the past two weeks and conceded a combined 121 to the Roos and Hawks.
Buckley said the connection between the club's midfield and forward line had to improve for the club to turn its form.
"We haven't been able to get the ball in our forward 50 as often as we would have liked over the last couple of weeks," he said.
"We want to give the forwards a little bit more supply and let them go to work. Mason is a part of that."
Collingwood has confirmed mid-season draftee John Noble would debut against the Eagles, however Taylor Adams will miss again due to injury.