Collingwood will attempt to rediscover their defensive best after losing a third game from their past four AFL outings in a concerning form slump ahead of finals.
The Magpies conceded 19.10 (124) — their heaviest score against in almost two seasons under coach Craig McRae — to the rampant Brisbane Lions in a top-of-the-table showdown at Docklands Stadium on Friday night.
Ladder leaders for the majority of the season, Collingwood need to defeat Essendon next Friday night to be guaranteed of taking out the minor premiership.
The Lions will overtake them into first if they beat St Kilda at the Gabba next Saturday, should the Magpies stumble against the Bombers.
Missing Jordan De Goey, Darcy Moore and Nick Daicos, Collingwood were outplayed by the Lions in a shootout as they gave up more than 100 points for the third-straight week.
“The last four or five weeks we’ve just conceded too many goals, too many points,” McRae said.
“Number one defensive team of the competition for major parts of the year, but we’ve lost that mantle.
Charlie Cameron kicked four goals as the Lions tore Collingwood’s defence apart.(Getty Images: Daniel Pockett)
“We’re just not happy with the way we’re defending the ground.
“We’ll get to work on this and we’ll find out exactly why. We’ve got some time to work on it. We’re not finished yet.”
The loss to the Lions — Collingwood’s sixth-straight against them — goes alongside defeats to Carlton and Hawthorn in the past month.
After being 16-2, the Magpies find themselves at 17-5 without at least two of their superstars — Daicos and Moore — until finals.
“Whatever we’re in right now, all it is, is a moment in time to qualify,” McRae said.
“In two weeks’ time, it’s a different game, the whole competition starts again and doesn’t really matter where you qualify.
“I don’t worry about form … what is form? You get energy from doing good things.
“I think form’s an outcome of good action so we just get busy on the action.”
Collingwood forward Beau McCreery faces a nervous wait for a potential dangerous tackle on Brisbane defender Darcy Wilmot in the third quarter.
Collingwood were forced into using their sub during the second quarter as defender Jakob Ryan’s debut finished early with concussion.
Nathan Murphy also suffered a heavy knock and failed to play out the final quarter.
McRae is hoping De Goey and small forward Bobby Hill will be available to take on the Bombers.
Source: AFL NEWS ABC