“I thought Jordan De Goey actually in the last quarter showed us even more to him than we have seen in the past, beyond talent and beyond – I suppose the excellence that we see from him in his finishing,” Buckley said.
“His work rate and his willingness to work himself and run himself into the ground, was another step forward for him, so he is continuing to grow.”
Buckley’s labelling of the win as critical is in no way understating the result. After losing four consecutive games to West Coast, including last year’s grand final, they were heading for a similar fate.
But they forced a shift in momentum and were able to scrap back from 18-points down midway through the third quarter to win their 11th game of the season.
A third consecutive defeat, and a fifth straight loss to the Eagles, would have seen them locked in an immediate battle for third spot on the ladder with the Brisbane Lions, GWS and Richmond.
Instead, they are back in second spot.
Friday night’s win wasn’t pretty. From that point when they trailed by three goals, they added an untidy 2.8 to their score, but afforded the Eagles just 0.1.
“I thought it was an important one for us, just for our mentality and for our progress though the season,” Buckley said.
“We got back to a mentality that was working for each other and a selfless attitude.
“If we hadn’t got the result, we would have still benefited from the progress that we made throughout the game and the type of football we were able to play. But you always like to get that and the win.
“I suppose to right the ship and have us head back in a direction that we believe we are on, to get the win tonight, was critically important for the momentum of our season.”
The Pies changed a few things up for this clash against the Eagles. Chris Main played a defensive forward role on Shannon Hurn, Mason Cox spent more time in the ruck than he usually does, freeing up Brodie Grundy and Will Hoskin-Elliott played in defence – albeit forced with the hamstring injury to Darcy Moore in the opening term.
The club believes the injury is low level and that Moore won’t be sidelined for very long.
And against all common sense, they kept kicking the ball high into their forward line, which is not usually done against West Coast’s strong marking defence.
That worked though. They took only eight marks inside 50, but most resulted in goals and Cox could easily have taken a half-dozen more.