Magpies, North face off in crunch AFL game

Saturday's clash with winless North Melbourne looms as crucial for Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley.
Saturday's clash with winless North Melbourne looms as crucial for Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley.

The stakes for a cellar-dweller clash in the AFL have rarely been higher.

Nathan Buckley is coaching for his career at Collingwood when the Magpies face winless North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.

Out-of-contract at season's end, Buckley's grip on the job could come completely loose if Collingwood fall to the rebuilding Kangaroos.

With the Magpies in disarray at 1-6, having lost their last five matches, North are eyeing a rare win.

The Kangaroos have lost 15 matches in row, dating back to round 10 last year.

It is the club's worst losing-streak since stumbling 17 consecutive times in 1971 and 1972.

North coach David Noble has attempted to downplay the importance of the match.

"This is going to sound a little bit strange, but we're not chasing a win," he said.

"We're chasing process. We're hell-bent on growing, getting better and getting really consistent in our methodology around what that process looks like.

"We know if we get the process right, then the outcome delivers itself.

"If that's that we're in front at the end of the game, then that's great.

"For our members and our fans, it's not that we're not saying we want to win.

"We're going into every game planning to win the game, but you can easily get caught up in that."

The Kangaroos impressed in last week's match against ladder-leaders Melbourne, with the eventual 30-point margin not doing justice to how competitive North were.

Noble will be trying to plot the demise of his son John's Magpies, with the pair to become only the third father-son duo in VFL/AFL history to compete against each other on opposing sides.

The Kangaroos regain the exciting Luke Davies-Uniacke, while No.3 draft pick Will Phillips has been axed.

Collingwood have recalled youngster Oliver Henry at the expense of fellow first-round draft pick Finlay Macrae.

The Magpies will have added motivation to lift with premiership midfielder Steele Sidebottom to run out for his 250th game.

Australian Associated Press