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Buckley unhappy with lacklustre Pies

Post Match: Nathan Buckley Hear from coach Nathan Buckley after his side's victory over the Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon.

A visibly frustrated Nathan Buckley has labelled Collingwood's performance on Sunday afternoon as its worst "for a long time", claiming his side was fortunate for individuals leading it to a gruelling nine-point victory over the Western Bulldogs.

The Pies lost three of four quarters at Marvel Stadium, but had a five-goal third term to thank for a slender and unconvincing win that took the club to second on the AFL ladder.

Collingwood had six fewer scoring shots than the Bulldogs and lost a number of key statistical indicators, including inside 50s, contested possessions and the tackle count.

But while the Collingwood coach praised his side's maturity to limp over the line, despite its disappointing display, an annoyed Buckley demanded more from his team in the future.

"That's the worst we've played for a long time," Buckley said.

"We didn't go anywhere near playing the way we want to play … we leaked scores from turnover, we didn't do the basics well and we didn't defend well at all.

"I'll tread a fine line between respecting the opposition and speaking a little bit about us. That was not a great performance by us. We did very little the way we wanted to. But we had enough strong individual performances to be able to get the result."

Buckley claimed he didn't deliver a bake to his players after the game, saying: "I used all of my harsh words in the coaches' box and at half-time."

He went on to reveal that one player on the end of those "harsh words" was Brodie Grundy.

The Collingwood ruckman claimed the Robert Rose Medal for the game's best player, winning 25 disposals, 50 hitouts and kicking two goals in an influential display.

However, Buckley disagreed with the suggestion he was the best player on the field.

"No, I didn't have Brodie as the best player on the ground," Buckley said.

"I haven't actually sat down and looked at it, but he wouldn't be (the best player). Check the coaches' votes and try and work out whose are whose."

Despite dominating young opponent Tim English in the ruck, Buckley said Grundy needed to improve after an uncharacteristically disappointing first-half display.

"He was right off in the first half … right off," Buckley said.

"He responded after half-time. We spoke fairly sternly at half-time and it wasn't just the coaches, the players weren't satisfied.

"When you're a player, you know whether you're executing your brand or whether you're not. That was a good response from the majority of the group after half-time."

Collingwood improved its record on the season to 10-3, though has won a series of games despite rather underwhelming team performances.

However, Buckley disagreed with suggestions that Sunday's display was reflective of a campaign that hasn't yet hit its peak, saying this was as disappointing as it has gotten.

"This performance was poorer than where we've been," Buckley said.

"I think we've actually played a lot of pretty good footy. We've still got opportunities to improve, clearly, but we got the four points and hopefully there's a lesson in that."