COLLINGWOOD coach Nathan Buckley has praised the performance of Jordan De Goey following his six-goal haul against North Melbourne on Saturday, but says the club will continue to challenge the forward to bring his best more consistently.
De Goey was reportedly challenged by club leaders to improve his defensive efforts after a poor showing in Collingwood’s disappointing loss to Gold Coast last week.
But against the Roos at Marvel Stadium, De Goey was electric, kicking 6.3 from 17 disposals and causing headaches for North Melbourne defenders.
Buckley said he was impressed with De Goey's efforts on Saturday, while acknowledging it sets a high bar for future performances.
"[De Goey] was a standout in his one-on-one contests … and to get six goals from a spearhead is a fair impact on your score," Buckley said.
"We have got to consider that last week was his first week back from a fairly significant concussion.
"But he wasn’t judged just on that game, he’s judged on the bigger picture expectations that have been put on him externally.
"But he has had games like we saw tonight and I suppose that whets the appetite, that sets the bar pretty high and he’s quite significant in our strong performances in an offensive sense."
Buckley said the internal demands and expectations on De Goey was to get the very best out of himself, just like any other player on the list.
But he said external commentary was often more extreme for Collingwood players, whether it be positive or negative.
"And when you're actually a character in that organisation [like De Goey] you get scrutinised really heavily, you get put on a pedestal for your good performances and get kicked in the guts for your poor ones," he said.
KANGAROOS v MAGPIES Full match coverage and stats
"Our expectations internally [for De Goey] are that he continues to work for his teammates, tries to play his role to the best of his capacity and brings his strengths to the fore.
"And we saw it tonight. We didn’t see it the last couple of games, last week in particular.
"We’ll challenge the professional, while we’re supporting the person. And that’s not what seems to happen externally."
North Melbourne coach David Noble acknowledged his side let itself down with several lapses during the game, especially in the second quarter when the Pies kicked five goals to one.
But he said he was proud of his young charges for refusing to flounder and preventing the Pies from running away with the match.
"We were in the game all the way. Teams have lapses, we see it every week, we see it in most games," Noble said.
"But crikey, our ability to fight out the game today, I was really proud of the way they dug in and won the second half.
"And had we got a few things a bit better in the last quarter, we could have put some real pressure on the Pies."
Noble said he was bemused by several umpiring decisions on Saturday, including a below-the-knees free kick against Jack Ziebell in the final term when the Roos’ skipper attempted to smother a kick off the ground in the goalsquare.
He also said a deliberate out of bounds paid against Cameron Zurhaar for an errant shot on goal in the second quarter "didn’t make sense".
The North Melbourne coach said he would be making an inquiry about some of these rulings.
"I’ll certainly be making a phone call early in the week about it," he said.
"It’s not about disputing the decision, it’s about trying to understand their process and decision-making [so we] can pass that back to our players to give them a better understanding."