Buoyed Buckley backs key Magpie Moore to return for finals
COLLINGWOOD coach Nathan Buckley is hopeful star defender Darcy Moore's hamstring injury is only minor and he will be back well before the finals.
Buckley lauded his players for finding their "mojo" again on Friday night against West Coast after disappointing losses against North Melbourne and Hawthorn over the past two weeks.
The win, which got Collingwood back into second spot, was their first over West Coast in five attempts.
Moore was out of the game early with a hamstring tear but despite the defender's history of such injuries, Buckley was confident the star player would be back to play a role in Collingwood's season.
"We think it is a slight hamstring strain. It will take a bit of time but he has put a solid block of footy together and we think he will get back in good time," the coach said.
"It is not a big one. It won't be a high-grade strain."
Moore limped off the ground with a left hamstring problem in a dramatic first quarter - in which 12 goals were scored - and went straight to the rooms.
The luckless defender played just seven games last season and missed the grand final after battling persistent hamstring and soft-tissue issues.
Earlier this season, Moore opened up about those hamstring struggles and his visit to world-renowned German sports doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt in October.
Moore has missed only two matches this season.
Buckley described Friday night's win as "apt reward" for his players.
"To right the ship and head back in a direction we are on. To get the win tonight was critically important for our season," he said.
"We had a close game last week that we weren't able to close out by less than a goal. The Fremantle game by less than a goal and Geelong in the first round by seven points.
"We have had some close ones we have been able to close out and some we haven't. The competition is fierce. There is an evenness to it we haven't seen for a while.
"It was an important one for us for our mentality and our progress for our season.
"We were able to do it around the footy through the midfield which is the area where we haven't been able to stand up against the Eagles."
The Pies were lifted by big last quarters by Scott Pendlebury and Brodie Grundy, and Chris Mayne's shut down of Shannon Hurn was also significant.
Buckley said better work around the midfield was critical to the win.
"We were better around the ball and I think that is what West Coast have done to us in previous games in recent meetings. We get one back but there is still a lot of work for us to do," he said.
"Footy is a hard caper and the scrutiny is quite intense but we got back to a mentality that was working for each other and a selfless attitude."
"We did OK in the early stages of the game but as it wore on we were able to find our mojo in a manner we haven't been able to against West Coast as games have progressed in the past 18 months."
West Coast also suffered a setback of its own in the opening term, losing forward Jamie Cripps with an adductor injury.
Cripps pulled up sore after an innocuous kick to a teammate and was ruled out for the rest of the match.