Some Collingwood players have reportedly 'grown weary' of head coach Nathan Buckley as the toll of a controversial off-season continues to mount.
The Magpies slumped to a 1-3 record after last weekend's 30-point loss at the hands of the GWS Giants, with players reportedly at odds with head coach Nathan Buckley.
'AN EMBARRASSMENT': Footy great slams AFL crowd 'tragedy'
'THAT'S HARSH': AFL coach sledges fan after being 'confronted'
According to Fox Footy's Tom Morris, Buckley's style has begun to wear thin among some senior Magpies players, with the messy departure of star midfielder Adam Treloar a key reason.
In his article, Morris said 'the wheels are falling off' at Collingwood, with the likes of Brodie Grundy and Jordan Roughead “vocal in their frustrations internally”.
Some players were 'perplexed' by Treloar's exit, with what Morris called the ‘we don’t want you’ mantra central to their concerns.
Collingwood's lacklustre start to the year hasn't gone unnoticed by footy experts, with former St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt suggesting Buckley's coaching career was at a 'tipping point'.
“There was a sameness to them,” Riewoldt told Fox Footy's On The Couch.
“It was the same sort of stuff we’ve seen from the same personnel and the same style.
“It’s a group that’s in need of real invigoration. You can’t keep doing what you’re doing, the way you’re doing it, with what you’ve got and the people you’ve got out there.
“It’s a tipping point now for Nathan Buckley in terms of either the way he’s trying to capture the imagination of the playing group and the people he’s trotting out every weekend.
“The imagination and selling hope to the group is now the most important weapon in Nathan Buckley’s arsenal.”
Riewoldt's co-host Gerard Healy agreed, saying the club was clearly lacking motivation after a controversial off-season which also saw long-time president Eddie McGuire resign.
“We can go back to tactics and structures … but to me what was missing most, it was just spirit,” Healy said.
“They played with no intensity, they played with none of that verve that has been part and parcel of this group for the last three years.”
Changes on cards for flat Magpies
The selection axe looms at Collingwood with Buckley demanding change after the Magpies' flat start to the season.
Collingwood were inconsistent across the opening three rounds but a largely listless performance in Saturday night's loss to injury-ravaged GWS saw them slip to 1-3.
"You can't go 1-3 and sit on your hands," Buckley told reporters.
"We think we've picked the best sides to get results and we haven't (got results).
"So we've got to look at changes. Whether that's the way we play, whether we strip things back, the way we prepare or personnel, there's plenty of things that will be assessed in that regard.
"But we've got six days to turn around and get over to Perth (to play West Coast).
"There's still some things that we're doing okay - but not enough, clearly."
Buckley didn't make wholesale changes after the round three loss to Brisbane but said the performance against GWS needed to be quickly addressed.
"We're not in a hold - we need to address this right now and turn it around," he said.
"Even though the last 30 seconds was focused on after the Brisbane game, there were plenty of execution errors across the board that we thought we could improve, so we backed a very similar 22.
"After tonight there's enough evidence there to suggest that we need to change something up - whether it's personnel, system, preparation, stripping it back in some ways - and we'll do that."
Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.