McGuane: My 13-point plan for Bucks to retake control
Collingwood, it's time to buck the system.
It is far from panic stations yet, but Friday night is the time to earn back the Magpie identity.
Firstly, it involves being aggressive in the contest and manic with pressure.
The other key shift needed is from the coaches' box. Come on, Bucks, stop the rot.
It is time to bring your creative footy mind to the team.
You were a champion player who could read trends on the field and respond to situations as they unfolded.
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Now you must express that risk-taking dare through your players. Because you have become too reliant on your system.
A strong argument can be mounted that your reluctance to change personnel within this system and during a match has stopped the side winning games from behind.
A great example of this is the 2019 preliminary final loss to Greater Western Sydney.
There is no point being stubborn about player movement when the system is failing and the team is four or five goals down.
On top of this, I would hope your loyal assistants can find the courage and strength to seriously challenge you when things are slipping away during a game.
Bucks, get back to being you.
Stop being too conservative, back your gut feel more often and come to realise that you are at your best when your instincts control your next decision.
I'm currently not seeing that in your coaching. It's sterile and predictable.
Above all, it lacks imagination.
I've seriously believed in you along the journey but now more than ever, is the time to revert to being a more "sense the occasion" coach.
The players will be stimulated through your will and want to change things up.
Here are some suggestions to help you retake control:
1. Drop Cox
Collingwood loses far too many one-on-one battles in the forward line.
So starting this week, take some risks with positional changes and make some hard calls.
Don't be accepting of players that are consistently letting critical opportunities slip but still gifted games the following week.
So drop Mason Cox - he is not delivering in his primary role.
He has lost 63 per cent of the 16 one-on-ones he has contested. Cox is tall, mostly plays in front and as a result gets his hands on the ball a lot but doesn't always complete the mark.
2. Swing Moore into attack
In Collingwood's past two games it has registered only 13 marks from 105 Inside 50s.
So why not throw Darcy Moore forward?
Have a look at Brody Mihocek playing alongside another teammate that turns 50/50 opportunities into wins.
Moore has received plaudits for his intercept ability down back and rightfully so, but that alone doesn't allow him to escape criticism.
He has conceded 34 marks and 42 uncontested possessions to his match-up - both being the most of any key defender.
Even those returns can be a reflection of the team's lack of pressure up the ground, but it might also be Moore subconsciously saying: "I need a change, swing me forward".
3. Get De Goey one-out
Jordan De Goey will be the one who will benefit most with greater movement around him.
He is the Pies' best one-on-one forward, yet clearly doesn't get used enough to exhibit his combination of speed, strength, skill and uncanny goal sense.
It's incomprehensible that he has only been involved in seven one-on-one contests this year. Better isolation and separation against Brad Sheppard is a must.
4. Mix up the rucks
Darcy Cameron is another obvious candidate to play as a key forward but also as a relief ruckman, as he was so important against Nic Naitanui in last year' final.
5. Luck of the Irish
Bring Mark Keane in to play in defence.
He made his debut against Fremantle and started on Rory Lobb so why not pick him to play for Oscar Allen.
If it's not him, bring Will Kelly into the team. Kelly is a competitive beast.
I know he is preparing to be a forward but don't underestimate his abilities as a defender.
His father, Craig, was a premiership defender and his brother plays an important defensive role at the Crows.
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
6. Be bold with Brown
Why not reinvent Callum Brown as a small defender?
He is bred to fight and scrap and he will make it hard for any opposition small forward he comes up against.
As a small forward he has only kicked three behinds from four games this year - yet he has applied 13 tackles.
Is he thinking too much about defence in an area that should be his second thought?
That's why his attacking flair is currently lost.
He has only kicked 19 goals from his 53 career games.
7. Switch Noble's role
Josh Thomas this year has kicked 2.3 from his four games.
He is miles away from the opportunistic small pressure forward he was in 2018 and 2019, when he kicked 60 from his 48 games in that period.
The other thought is to flip John Noble to be a small pressure forward.
Why not have a look at him there?
Can he bring some goalkicking nous to a forward line desperate for a fresh look?
8. Tag Tim Kelly
Levi Greenwood must play to tag Tim Kelly on Friday night, considering Luke Shuey and Elliot Yeo are not in the Eagles' midfield.
He is task orientated and brings a defensive edge and hardness to the group.
He will be strong in the contest and apply great pressure. So it's a no-brainer.
9. Bolster the midfield
Get Tyler Brown to play as an inside-mid, not necessarily on Friday night, but in future planning. Using him on the outside is not his go.
His bodywork and discipline on Patrick Cripps at stoppages last year was a great example of that.
10. Move the veterans around
Throw Steele Sidebottom or Scott Pendlebury back at times to be a part of your back six.
Ball use and a lack of composure is hurting the team too often and some of the culprits that give the ball back too easily might benefit having your leaders behind the ball to lead the way with effective counter attack ball use.
That would bring a sense of ball security to an area that's impossible to defend D50 turnovers. And isn't that currently hurting the team?
11. Use Daicos' elite skills
Push Josh Daicos back to his wing role to ensure there is better ball use going forward between the arcs.
His tram track running on his wing last year was outstanding.
He pushes back hard to support defence or to be an exit option to start an offensive move.
He knows when to push forward and kick a critical goal.
12. Let Quaynor use his speed
Isaac Quaynor was good as a deep hybrid defender until last week.
He was outclassed by Toby Greene. Swap Brayden Maynard to that role and allow Quaynor to bring some bounce and overlap so speed on the game becomes more of a constant. Collingwood's mark-and-play-on percentage is 17th in the AFL, so more risk is required.
Free Quaynor up and allow his free spirit to become a part of the game.
He looks inhibited deep and a reluctant runner to join in with offence.
13. Don't leave Jack down back
Jack Crisp must play midfield more often. He has become a very consistent player irrespective of his role. He references opposition mids quickly which helps bring a sense of accountability to the team in defensive transition.
So there it is, Bucks. Some food for thought.
At the moment, there is too much sameness week to week.
You know footy, so stop the lameness.
Bring back the boldness and vitality you played with to your coaching. Don't die with the music in you. You will otherwise regret it.
Originally published as McGuane: My 13-point plan for Bucks to retake control