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Pies haven't stepped up when it counted, says Buckley

Bucks: Pies 'haven't stepped up to the plate' Nathan Buckley insists Collingwood's confidence hasn't been dented by five consecutive losses
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 26: Jack Frost of the Magpies in action during the 2015 AFL round 17 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Collingwood Magpies at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, Australia on July 26, 2015. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Jack Frost in action against the Western Bulldogs
The consistent theme is when the games are there to be won we haven't quite stepped up to the plate
Nathan Buckley

COLLINGWOOD has found itself off the finals pace in the past five weeks because of its inability to step up when games are on the line, coach Nathan Buckley says.

The Magpies lost their fifth straight match on Sunday against the Western Bulldogs, dropping from fourth spot in round 12 to now sit 11th, precariously placed with an 8-8 record. 

They had an opportunity to pounce in the fourth quarter on Sunday when they cut the margin to 11 points, but back-to-back goals for the Bulldogs from crumbing opportunities iced the game. 

Buckley said the common thread in the past five weeks had been such lapses at crucial moments that let the opposition secure victory.

Click here for Nathan Buckley's full media conference

"The consistent theme is when the games are there to be won we haven't quite stepped up to the plate," he said. 

"When the question is asked and when it's in the balance, we want to be a footy club that answers in the affirmative … at the moment we haven't been able to. 

"Against Fremantle, Port Adelaide, West Coast and again today where we've been that goal-and-a-bit down, we've had momentum, we've had four or five inside 50s in a row, and if we'd done the basics well we'd be able to hit the scoreboard and make a real game of it, but we haven't been able to do that.

"The opposition have weathered the storm, made the most of some opportunities, and we've given them to them. The game's done."

As well as close losses to the Dockers, Power and Eagles, Collingwood let a slim lead against Hawthorn slip in the fourth quarter in round 14, rounding out a horror run of near misses.

"We know the reality of where we're at and at the moment I think sides come up against us and they think they're a chance. We've got to turn that around," Buckley said.

"We're all a little bit inpatient, aren't we, even the coach and the players.

"But we're doing a lot of things right. It's just doing those little things right to be able to take the next step."

Buckley said teenage forward Darcy Moore had produced "a first class" performance, kicking five goals in just his third game.

The 19-year-old led a forward line that Buckley said was let down by its small forwards.    

"When you get your opportunities and you take your opportunities, it makes a big difference," he said of Moore.

"His contest was really good, his aerial was excellent, and above all when he earned his opportunities he took them.

"We schooled him up as a defender through the pre-season and early in the year.

"But we've been looking for a little bit more forward of the ball and he's been able to provide that."