“It’s been a long trip back for him,” Buckley said of the 34-year-old, who has not played an AFL match since he suffered a Lisfranc injury in the Queen’s Birthday match against Melbourne last June.
“He’s ticked all the boxes and he’s ready to go.”
Jeremy Howe missed training on Wednesday due to the flu but would be right to go on Friday, Buckley said,
Magpies midfielder Taylor Adams said on RSN on Wednesday that he felt the Magpies’ midfield was lacking in connection in Saturday’s game.
“On the weekend our midfield did feel disjointed and I think that’s probably half me coming in, Beamsy coming in as a new player at the footy club … and obviously we’re adjusting to new rules and new positions as players,” Adams said.
“Obviously there’s a fair bit of publicity about the depth of our midfield and the amount of stars rolling through there, which is all well and good.
“But if we can’t play together, as you’ll see, we’ll get beaten. We’ve probably been beaten by two out of three of the midfields we’ve played.”
When asked about Adams’ comments, Buckley admitted it was something the midfield needed to work on.
“There’s a bit of fat on our bones so to speak, so there’s still some stuff there we can clean up,” Buckley said.
“Right now it happens to something we believe we can really get big bang for the buck from so we’ve done some work on it this week. We clearly worked on it during the Geelong game as well.
“It’s not going to happen immediately but we believe we’ve got the right ingredients.”
Veteran Chris Mayne will play his 200th game after what he described as a “rollercoaster of a journey”.
Mayne was dumped to the VFL three games into his start at Collingwood in 2017, and only worked his way back to the AFL in round six last season.
He took a philosophical view to his rocky start at the club. “That’s footy, you don’t always win straight away.”
According to Buckley, Mayne would have had no doubt his 200th game would come along.
“No one goes through a career without those challenges but his were obviously very public a couple of years ago coming into the cub in his first year.
“But the way he carries himself, the professionalism he displays, the care and support he provides his teammates on and off the field is as significant as any player I’ve played alongside or coached.”
Yan is a reporter for The Age.