Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley stands by his description of last week's performance against North Melbourne as "embarrassing" but is confident the debut of rising star Isaac Quaynor will bolster the team's chances against Hawthorn on Friday night.
"When it came to the decision on who to bring onto our back seven, Isaac is the player that we need right now and he's more than ready to fill the void," Buckley said on Thursday.
"We're really confident he's got the goods to bring to the table and explore his next stage of development at the top level."
Buckley praised the 19-year-old's physical ability, saying he was strong in the air and on ground.
"He's right up there in his physical attributes required to play the game," Buckley said.
"That's what he's shown at VFL level and now there's a chance to test himself at the top."
Quaynor finished runner-up in the Oakleigh Chargers' best and fairest and was one of Vic Metro's best players at the under-18 championships last year. Buckley said rewarding younger players with promotion to the highest level was one of the great joys of the job.
"If there is one part of a coaching role that's probably more exciting than any others it's to see young men come in and fulfil their dreams," he said. "And the first game is a big part of that."
Standing beside his coach with an unshakeable grin, Quaynor described the moment as "surreal" and said he and his family were "super excited".
"Got the whole squad coming, there's about 13 of us in my immediate family. So there's going to be a whole bunch of Quaynors running around the change rooms, hopefully after a win," he said.
Last week, the young defender was rested with a groin injury but after rehabilitation and work with the club's physio he said he felt ready to compete.
"I feel pretty confident in my body," he said.
The Pies have been plagued by injuries this season with 16 players on the injury list. Commenting on their progress, Buckley said Tom Langdon would not require surgery on his knee and was "travelling well".
"He won't be up in the next couple of weeks … But there's a possibility of him returning in the back end."
The coach also said Brayden Sier would be back tRead More – Source