Jordan De Goey’s availability, the form of whipping boy Mason Cox and the forecast bad weather are are all weighing heavily on the mind of Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley ahead of Thursday night’s blockbuster clash with Geelong at Optus Stadium.
De Goey missed Friday night’s win over Hawthorn after he was charged with indecent assault over an incident in 2015, instead flying to Perth with suspended vice-captain Steele Sidebottom ahead of his teammates.
De Goey trained well today and Buckley said the 24-year-old would be available for selection, with the teams to be announced tomorrow.
“Physically he’s in great shape, mentally and emotionally he seems good,” he said.
“To be back in amongst the group I think has been good for both he and Steele and Ben Reid, who was over here earlier.”
Buckley acknowledged big American Cox was not playing the way they would like at the moment, but would not confirm if he would hold his place in the team.
“Mason’s performances have been under-par and he’s aware of that,” he said.
“Yeah he is a whipping boy, there’s a massive expectation of what he’s going to bring to the table. There’s a lot of conversation around weather conditions and game conditions and whether it’s conducive to his strengths shining.
“We have played a lot of night games and he has played in inclement games in the last couple of weeks.
“The role that he plays does straighten us up, it does give us an aerial target towards our goal and I think his competitiveness has been OK, but clearly we would like to see more from him and he has greater capacity than what we’ve seen displayed in the last couple of weeks.”
Collingwood have a good interstate record in recent years, winning 14 of their past 23 games on the road.
This gives Buckley confidence in his group that they can “find best case in any scenario” ahead of a long stint away from home.
“We believe whatever the environment, whatever the circumstances, where we’re playing, home or away and obviously in fairly abstract situations that we are in at the moment, we still feel like we can narrow our focus and bring our best to the table,” he said.
“There are challenges and as has been heavily detailed there’s some setbacks and some pitfalls that all clubs are facing, all players are facing.
“I think we’re able to come together, look after one another and the time away together has meant that we have been able to build on that connection piece which we feel is a really important part of us and hold us in good stead.”