COLLINGWOOD coach Nathan Buckley has thrown his support behind embattled forward Jordan De Goey, saying reports of an incident with senior players had "a lot of inaccurate" information.
De Goey was reportedly spoken to by leaders at the conclusion the club's demoralising loss to Gold Coast, with his defensive efforts – given his talent and potential – the subject of the clash.
The Pies are languishing in 17th position, with a 1-6 win-loss record, and face bottom-place North Melbourne this weekend.
"Jordy was knocked out in round five, missed the next game with concussion, and had one game back last week, so there's been a lot of commentary around that, and once again that's another (external) narrative and storyline that has taken place," Buckley said.
"What I will say is a lot of it is inaccurate, but trying to put out every little fire that's happening at the moment is not where our focus is.
"We support Jordy, absolutely. He's a young man who's trying and endeavouring to contribute to the club as best he can, and he's one of four to five other young men who are trying to do the same in a playing sense and staff extended from that.
"Whatever we do – win, lose or draw – we'll do it together and we won't carve anyone away. So, feeding into that narrative is something I'm not keen to do."
Buckley confirmed star defender Darcy Moore will return to defence after a few weeks up forward, but the All-Australian's return will not necessarily signal more time in attack for De Goey, who has been moving through the midfield of late.
"The last three weeks, that trial or to have a look at that has given us some information, not all of it the type of information we were looking for in a positive sense," he said.
"Darcy is one member of our team, he's not the be-all and end-all. He's a very good footballer, he's obviously played some exceptional football behind the ball.
"We've seen breakout performances in losing teams by Darcy Cameron and Brody Mihocek over the past two weeks, and we think Darcy's presence has assisted in that regard. But with a defensive focus for us, once we stripped that back it was really clear that Darcy behind the ball makes us a better defensive team."
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The team's overall defensive structure has been a clear focus for the Pies this week, as they attempt to win their first game since round two.
"The connection with us as a group is important, we've tipped time into that, and we've reschooled our defensive shape. So that's largely where our focus has been and where we hope to effectively get the game on our terms from that phase of the game," Buckley said.
"It hasn't been consistent enough this year, it's been a strong point of ours over a number of years, but that was then, and this is now, so we need to improve our defensive actions and give ourselves a chance to play the game in our front half."
Buckley confirmed Jeremy Howe (knee) should return next week, Levi Greenwood missed Thursday's training session as he continues to recover from concussion, while Mason Cox (hamstring) took to the track after he was a late withdrawal from the VFL.