St Kilda great Leigh Montagna believes Collingwood’s senior players have “lost hope,” while Eddie McGuire has implored Nathan Buckley to send Darcy Moore back to defence.
And 1990 premiership coach Leigh Matthews had described the Magpies’ game style as “pedestrian.”
The critiques followed the club’s fifth straight defeat on the weekend, which places more pressure on embattled coach Nathan Buckley.
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Montagna drew comparisons with the latter stages of his own career at the Saints when the club was anchored to the bottom of the ladder, handing games to young players and out of contention for a flag.
“For me what I noticed from the weekend’s game, I think their senior players have lost hope in this season,” Montagna said on Fox Footy’s First Crack.
“I think on the weekend I saw a senior group that knows this year is gone. They aren’t going to be playing finals, contending.
“Once that comes into a player’s psyche – particularly the big guns and your best players – it’s only a slight drop off. You lose that fanatical edge and drive that the top teams have.
“We had a similar situation in 2013. It was Scott Watters’ second year. We finished just outside the eight the year before. We started the year with hope and optimism. We lost a few games early in the year and it became public after Round 5 that we were in a rebuild… From there it changed the psyche.”
Having finished ninth in 2012, the Saints battled through a disappointing rest of the decade. They finished 16th in 2013, earning the wooden spoon in 2014 before another three bottom-six finishes, until they finally returned to the finals in 2020.
On Sunday evening, former president Eddie McGuire was quizzed on Collingwood’s issues during the Western Derby coverage.
McGuire rejections suggestions of internal fractures and fighting, but argued the Darcy Moore experiment should be shelved.
“I’d love to see Moore go back and even get Cox back to straighten them up, get a few things happening and get going again,” McGuire said on Fox Footy.
“They are really missing Taylor Adams there is no doubt about that.
“You know why they are doing it with Jeremy Howe out of the side, I’d like to see a bit more rebound. One of the great things about Darcy Moore is he gets it and runs 20 metres and kicks it 50 metres and you get it down there. We’ve lost all the intercept marks at the moment and it’s stodgy play.
“Everyone in the cheer squad is saying the same thing.”
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Matthews said De Goey is “a mile off,” and categorised Collingwood as “a bottom-four team.”
“They don’t look like they have any wow factor about them. Mihocek was outstanding but the rest of the ground, they look fairly pedestrian, so it looks like a long road ahead for them,” he told 3AW.
“This same group that played (Gold Coast) is much more capable than the standard they produced. So you have got to get the best out of your personnel before you start chucking the kids in.
“Jordan De Goey, we know he can play but at the moment he’s a mile off. We think Darcy Moore can be a really good player as a defender, but as a forward he just didn’t draw the ball. They have to decide about their positioning of these players to get the best out of them before wholesale chucking half a dozen out and bringing half a dozen in.”