WILL Hoskin-Elliott grew up barracking for Collingwood and idolising Nathan Buckley.
So it's been doubly disappointing for Hoskin-Elliott to watch one of his heroes, who is now his coach at the Magpies, being scrutinised so heavily, so publicly each week.
With his side languishing in 15th place with a 5-10 win-loss record in what is his sixth season at the helm, the pressure is building on Buckley,
"It is (building)," the hard-running midfielder said ahead of the Magpies' clash with the Gold Coast tomorrow at Metricon Stadium.
"But, at the same time, I feel bad because he's not the one who's out there playing. It's us players.
"That's what I'm really annoyed at because he gives us a game plan and we're just not doing it to our full ability yet.
"I think it's a bit of everything - our skills haven't been great at times this year, likewise our work rate."
Hoskin-Elliott joined the Magpies at the end of last season after being one of the original GWS Giants in 2011.
He recalls meeting Buckley for a chat before the trade period.
"I was very nervous because he was obviously one of my favourite players growing up," he said.
"But he pretty much said if I find my way to the Pies he'd like me to play wing, half-back, half-forward ... bring my run and speed to the club.
"As long as I put my head down and worked hard there would be a spot available."
Hoskin-Elliott's opinion of Buckley certainly hasn't dimmed.
"He just cares so much for you, as a person, not just how you're playing you're footy," he said.
"He cares about your off-field things as well. That's what everyone really loves about Bucks."
Hoskin-Elliott was taken at pick four in the 2011 national draft behind current Giants Jon Patton, Stephen Coniglio and Dom Tyson (now at Melbourne).
"It's been a massive eye-opener coming (from) the Giants to the Pies," he said.
"The amount of people that are talking in newspapers and in websites ... everywhere you go it's Pies, Pies, Pies."
Though away from the spotlight, he spent an injury-plagued five years in Sydney, playing just 52 senior games, including two last season when, frustratingly, he hurt his quad twice and a hamstring once.
While the wins haven't come at Collingwood, he is at least enjoying playing, linking back up with former teammates Adam Treloar and Taylor Adams.
"It was just one thing after another," he said of his 2016 season.
"I've played every game so far (in 2017) ... pretty happy to actually be out on the park.
"Obviously I'd like better results but they will come in time."
Hoskin-Elliott hopes the Pies can get the result tomorrow against the Suns and end a four-match losing streak. The Magpies have won their past two clashes against the Gold Coast by 69 and 71 points.
He said the constant Buckley speculation wouldn't affect the team.
"You don't really know what's going to happen," he said.
"We're just focused on the next seven weeks and trying to win as many game as we can."