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'We just had a bad half'

Peter Ryan  April 14, 2013 8:55 PM

Post-match: Pies Watch Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley's post-match press conference
THE INTANGIBLE known as 'will' was the difference between Collingwood and Hawthorn on Sunday, according to Magpies coach Nathan Buckley.
 
Although he said his players did not give up for one second he said the Hawks' ability to win the ball in close after half-time brought their runners into the game and pushed the Magpies structure beyond breaking point.
 
Hawthorn scored 14 goals, nine behinds after half-time as it racked up 33 inside 50s. Collingwood kicked six goals, three behinds in that period from 31 inside 50s.
 
Hawthorn had 11 goalkickers and kicked 20 goals against Collingwood for the fourth consecutive time since round one, 2012.
 
"We don't like giving away those scores," Buckley said.
 
Only twice since 2008 has Collingwood conceded a higher score. That was against the Hawks in round seven, 2008 and Geelong in round 22, 2009.
 
"We can win games scoring 89 points but you're not going to win too many games giving up 145. That is where it starts and ends," Buckley said.
 
The reasons were clear to everyone at the ground.
 
Once Collingwood began losing in the scrimmages, Hawthorn was able to release its runners into space.
 
With players such as 'Buddy' Franklin, Luke Breust, Liam Shiels, Jed Anderson, Brad Hill, Isaac Smith, Grant Birchall and Cyril Rioli possessing both pace on the outside and the ability to kick goals, the Hawks held sway and were able to hit the scoreboard quickly.
 
The Hawks also controlled territory, winning crucial centre clearances and putting the Magpie defenders on the back foot.
 
"[We] pride ourselves on being harder for longer but we weren't today," Buckley said. 

"If you have too many days like that then all of a sudden you start questioning, are you harder for longer? Have you got the capacity to be able to do it? And today we weren't able to do it.

"Does that mean that is what we are? No I don't think that is what we are. We just had a bad half."
 
Despite an injury list that includes Dayne Beams, Luke Ball, Clinton Young, Darren Jolly and the skipper Nick Maxwell, Buckley would not entertain that as an excuse. He said the Magpies had 22 players capable of beating Hawthorn.
 
He bemoaned more the lapses in concentration that led to Hawthorn goals when the game was tight. He singled out the mistake that led to Hawks skipper Luke Hodge kicking a goal from a stoppage just before half-time. Hodge drifted down from defence with no one between him and the goals at the stoppage and was able to kick a torpedo goal as Steele Sidebottom tried valiantly to catch him.
 
Who was to blame was unclear but it cost the team.
 
"When you are coming up against good sides you need to be right all of the time," Buckley said. "You can't afford to give an inch to these good sides and we did that."
 
Collingwood conceded the last six scores of the first half and the last three goals of the third quarter.
 
Although one of the goals late in the third quarter was from a mystifying ruck decision to Jarryd Roughead against Quinten Lynch, it was clear the Hawks were able to grind the Magpies down.
 
Buckley said that although the club prided itself on being harder for longer, Hawthorn outworked and outsmarted the Magpies in close as the game wore on. 
 
Buckley said Ben Reid had pulled up OK having jarred his knee in a marking contest late in the second quarter. Reid returned to the ground and competed well.
 
"If you want to be a good footy side, you lick your wounds and you back up. You don't capitulate," Buckley said.

"This was a poor result for us, the second half in particular was very disappointing. It's round three. We've got a lot of work to do and we think there is plenty of improvement in us," Buckley said.