Injury curse brings Pies undone
COLLINGWOOD coach Nathan Buckley predicted there was a "payday" coming for his battle-scarred group if they maintained the intensity shown in Saturday's loss to GWS.
The brave Magpies were forced to play out the second half at the MCG two rotations down and it took its toll withe thGiants running out 15.5 (95) to 12.7 (79) winners.
Late inclusion Tim Broomhead suffered a horrific double break of the tibia and fibula in the first term and key tall Darcy Moore suffered hamstring soreness before half-time.
The undermanned and undersized side led by as much as 11 points early in the final term, eventually falling 16 points short.
The Collingwood players were left shaken by the stark nature of Broomhead's injury.
The 24-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of the season, was a late inclusion for the match after Ben Reid pulled out due to hip soreness.
While Reid is expected to play against the Blues this Friday night, Broomhead faces up to 12 months on the sidelines with an uncertain future.
"It is terrible luck for a young bloke who is still trying to prove himself," Buckley said.
"Obviously 'Broomy' is a well-loved and well-respected member of our footy club, so it impacts (on the players), there is no doubt.
"'Brodes' (Brodie Grundy) is one of his best mates and I thought (he) really responded ... at the next ruck contest, he attacked really well.
"It has an effect (on the team), because you really feel for the bloke."
But the Magpies' injury-curse eventually wore them down, with their lack of rotations and some questionable composure heading into attack proving costly in the battle of attrition.
The Giants won in the end by 16 points, leaving the Pies without a victory ahead of a must-win game against Carlton on Friday night.
The coach's mood oscillated between pride and frustration.
"It goes down as an 'L' (loss), but a very different looking one ... (yet) it is still the same letter," Buckley said.
"There is a contrast between that performance and last week (against Hawthorn), and it is our challenge to keep producing that."
"It showed a lot of pluck, it showed a lot of endeavour and a lot of discipline throughout the game. We sort of had it on our terms for the most part, but it just opened up late.
"There is a payday coming if you keep tipping in."
Buckley had to craft a pint-sized, makeshift forward line for much of Saturday's game, given Mason Cox's one-week suspension, and the fact players such as Reid, Jamie Elliott, Jordan De Goey, Daniel Wells, Alex Fasolo, Tyson Goldsack, Chris Mayne and Levi Greenwood were not playing.
Moore, who looked lively in attack early in the game before coming off, is doubtful to take on the Blues next week, but Reid and Cox are expected to be available.
Even if he probably had some right to, Buckley wasn't lamenting his team's ill-fortune with injury once again, a recurring theme in recent seasons, saying if the effort is the same in coming weeks, there would be wins in store.
"It is not really about how tall or small you are, it is about how it blends together with your ball use," he said.
"I thought that was better. We were more adventurous with the ball in our back half, in particular. We were prepared to bounce a bit more.
"It did tell when our legs ran out, and we couldn't break the lines as much."