- from afl.com.au
IT'S SAFE to say it hasn't been the easiest of weeks for under-pressure and out-of-contract Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley.
A 15-point away win against Gold Coast in the pouring rain, where his team battled hard to pull clear in the final few minutes, was just the tonic he needed.
"We've had our challenges over the past couple of weeks to maintain the rage across four quarters," Buckley said.
"We were doing that pretty well for the most part during the early part of the year, and I just think we just didn't have as many lulls, we were able to maintain that rage tonight."
The Magpies shot to a 27-point lead at the start of the second quarter, before heavy rain hit Metricon Stadium.
The Suns thrived in the rain, drawing level by half-time.
"I thought early in the second quarter we went sideways a little too much when it started coming down, and we didn't adjust as quickly as we would have liked, we gave territory away and gave a couple of scores away early and a bit of hope for the opposition," Buckley said.
"But we adjusted pretty well by the end of the second and we were able to get back into the contest and get field position by going more direct to goal by the second half."
Buckley lauded the efforts of small forward Alex Fasolo, who was accidentally flattened by teammate Brodie Grundy in a marking contest just before quarter-time, but returned to be an influential player.
Fasolo took time off earlier this year with depression.
"He was huge in the last quarter. I think Fas' last three or four weeks, even in a losing cause, his effort and consistency in work rate has been really strong since coming back into the team.
"It's all credit to him. He's actually really developing as a footballer. I thought 18 months ago he sort of took a step … then even at the beginning of this year, started well and then he was tailing off and clearly, there's some issues with his depression that he's dealing with.
"He's probably more aware of that and more mature as a result, facing it rather than hiding away which was a courageous decision, but we're seeing some really consistent footy from him."
The injury-prone Daniel Wells made a successful comeback to football in his 250th game, and Buckley was visibly happy talking about his return.
"He's so impressive once he gets on top of the ground and he's moving. We want to win as many games as we can, and it so happens that when Wellsy's in the side, we tend to win a little bit more.
"The recruitment of him and addition of him to our side is sound, we'd like to get him out a little bit more because he helps us. That's just not on-field … his composure, his leadership and experience in our side is really important, especially on match-day.
"We're getting all of that and it leaves us hungry for more, really."