Josh Smith of the Magpies reacts after kicking a goal against Hawthorn.
Josh Smith of the Magpies reacts after kicking a goal against Hawthorn. JULIAN SMITH

Magpies hero sticking by under-fire coach

HAVING given him his playing start in the AFL, Collingwood defender Josh Smith is desperate to help Nathan Buckley extend his coaching career at the top level.

The Magpies mentor took a chance on Smith, plucking him from Redland in the NEAFL in the 2016 rookie draft as a 21-year-old.

Smith has so far repaid Buckley in spades after making his senior debut in last year's Anzac Day clash.

He didn't miss another game that year, averaging 21 disposals and finishing seventh in the club best and fairest.

While Smith has secured his position at half-back this season, Buckley remains on shaky ground with the Magpies making a 3-6 start.

Smith said he and his teammates were "right behind him".

"He's the one who gave me my opportunity ... he was right behind me last year and he's still supporting me this year," the former Toowoomba junior said.

"He keeps challenging me to keep finding ways to be better for the side.

"He's invested in all his players. Hopefully we can do the job for him."

Buckley, who has been at the helm since 2012, comes out of contract at season's end.

"He's very passionate about what he does," Smith said. "He loves the footy club. He's been here as a player and coach for 25 years.

"He's doing so much during the week to put us in positions to win games.


Josh Smith of the Magpies.
Josh Smith of the Magpies. TRACEY NEARMY

"I know it's a bit of a footy cliche but the players obviously have control on game day. He can't really do much on the day.

"The boys have got total faith in him and total faith in the game plan.

"I know people are going to keep talking about it but the more we win the better it's going to be."

The Magpies will look to string back to-back wins together tomorrow when they host Brisbane at the MCG.

The Pies' confidence is up after a come-from-behind win over Hawthorn.

The Magpies were down by 43 points early in the second term, Smith describing it as a "pretty ugly start".

"It was easily one of the best wins I've been a part of in my time at the club," he said. "It was an awesome feeling."

Smith clinched the sealing goal - just his fifth in his 26th game - further endearing himself to Magpies supporters.

"I still don't think people know my name but they know me as the guy who kicked the last goal," he said.

"It (his notoriety) is slowly growing, but I think I need to kick a couple more goals."

Smith said the Magpies would not be taking the Lions lightly despite their opponents sitting last at 1-8.

He said it was important to string four quarters together.

"We still believe our best can beat anyone," he said.

News Corp Australia

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