Buckley resigns as Collingwood coach
Collingwood head coach Nathan Buckley will step down from the role, coaching his last match this Monday - midway through the season.
Buckley’s contract is set to expire at the end of the 2021 season but he will call time on his tenure as head coach six months early.
The announcement comes just months after Eddie McGuire stepped down as Collingwood President.
After a stellar career on the field, Buckley was named an assistant coach in 2010 under Mick Malthouse, before taking over the top job in 2012.
Making finals in his first two years in the job, the Pies endured a stint outside the eight the next four years.
However, they roared back to premiership contention in 2018, falling short against West Coast on Grand Final day.
Enduring a poor start to the current season, recording 3 wins and 9 losses, the Pies sit 16th on the ladder, well outside the finals places.
Buckley, who has faced questioning about his future all year long with his contract set to expire at season’s end, said:
“The overwhelming message I had was one of gratitude.
“I feel like I’ve been blessed to be a part of this football club over a large period of time.
“What’s next for me is sitting with my boys, and choosing the direction for the next bit of my life.
“Everyone has their time ... mine has come.
“I’m really content with the decision.”
Collingwood CEO, Mark Anderson, said:
“We have decided that this Monday will be the last time that Nathan will coach the team.”
Speaking on the list changes made by Collingwood and specifically former list manager Ned Guy, who quit just last month, General Manager of Football, Graham Wright said:
“The decisions were made around transitions for the club.
“We started that last year with eight new players coming in the draft period, and the two just recently, so ten in the last eight months.
“We looked at the next three to five years, and what’s that going to look like for us.
“Certainly losing a couple of players can affect results, but in the end it was a phase the club had to go through (a rebuild).”
Those players included Tom Phillips (Hawthorn), Adam Treloar (Western Bulldogs) and Jaidyn Stephenson (North Melbourne).
Collingwood Captain, Scott Pendelbury, said:
“It’s a bit of a shock, you come in to train today, and that happens, it’s definitely a shock.
“First time in my career that I’ve ever been through something like this before, I feel almost a little bit numb.
“He spoke about (Buckley when addressing the players) that, he (Buckley) thinks it’s the best thing for the club, and no person's bigger than the club and he thinks it’s the right time for him to step away.
“Don’t know if I’m allowed to say but I’m going to anyway (about who will fill Buckley’s position), the caretaker will be Robert Harvey, so obviously ‘Harves’ has been ‘Bucks’ right-hand man for a long time so I don’t think that comes as a surprise.”
Buckley will coach his final game against the Melbourne Demons this Monday as part of the traditional Queen’s Birthday Monday game.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in Melbourne, the traditional clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is likely to occur at the SCG.