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Buckley rapt with Grundy's effort

Post Match: Nathan Buckley The Pies coach speaks to the media after the win over Melbourne in round 12

A sore Brodie Grundy has been praised for his admirable efforts against dual All Australian ruckman Max Gawn, with the in-form Collingwood star having only narrowly been declared fit to play in his side's comfortable Queen's Birthday victory over Melbourne on Monday.

Despite battling an ankle injury during the week, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley revealed that it was a neck problem that cast doubt over Grundy's chances of featuring.

However, having been named to play, Grundy was overshadowed by the dominance of Gawn during the error-laden encounter – with the Melbourne big man finishing the match with 34 disposals, 33 hitouts and 10 clearances in an influential display.

Grundy, well down on his usual output, still finished with 14 disposals, 30 hitouts and a goal, though Buckley praised his late contributions to Collingwood's 41-point win.

"Brodie will hate me saying this, but he was under the weather physically," Buckley said.

"He did a really good job to get up. It wasn't his ankle, he had a really sore neck. For a long part of the week, he might not have played. But he was able to push through that.

"Now that I think about it, he'll hate that a lot.

"Max was huge, not just in clearance but around the ground. (But) I thought Brodie really stuck at it, particularly in that five minutes before three-quarter time. It gave us the capacity to get a couple of goals on the board, which was good for breathing space."

American giant Mason Cox returned after five matches on the sidelines due to an ankle injury, deputising for Grundy in the ruck to finish with 10 disposals, five marks and a goal.

Ben Reid, who kicked seven goals during the time while Cox was absent, was omitted from the team and returned to the VFL where he managed two goals from 15 disposals.

It proved a telling decision, with lively trio Jordan De Goey, Jaidyn Stephenson and Will Hoskin-Elliott combining for nine goals in a potent demonstration of their ability.

However, speaking after the match, Buckley wouldn't rule out the possibility of recalling Reid after the club's bye next week and introducing a three-pronged tall forward line.
"There is absolutely a chance (of that happening)," Buckley said.

"I'm not going to say that I won't take any of our options off the table. We've always got those options.

"We've got Jamie Elliott and Taylor Adams to hopefully come back in the second half of the year and there are a few boys that are going to have claims in that mid-forward area. That probably has as much to say on our tall-small balance as anything else.

"At the same time, if we need to go to it or we think that it suits a particular opposition, we wouldn't hesitate to have the three. But it's not been done yet, so I can't say it's something that we know that works or that we would shy away from.

"The likelihood is that we wouldn't. But I won't take it off the table."