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In 2017, I wrote an article called “Stop confusing me, Buckley!”, which focused on the simple fact that I found it very difficult to determine whether Nathan Buckley was a competent AFL coach or a favorite destined son. to drive the Collingwood Magpies well and truly into the abyss of insignificance.
After inheriting a powerhouse Collingwood side that won the flag in 2010 and only lost three times in 2011, on each occasion to eventual Premiers Geelong, Buckley sought to establish his reputation as a coach among the Magpies.
The shadow of former manager Mick Malthouse loomed large and as the wins dried up over the next five years, the doubters appeared to be right.
2012 saw Buckley lead his team to 16 wins, 14 followed in 2013, before the team descended into mediocrity between 2014 and 2017; four unsuccessful years without playing the finals.
Many at the time wondered how much Buckley continued to have the faith of the board, even taking into account the voices there that were convinced that he was the man to return to the club to greatness.
The Collingwood playing champion was to have something of a revival as a coach over the next two years.
2018 saw the Magpies advance to the final game of the season, only for Dom Sheed to snatch victory away from them in the dying moments and 2019 brought similar pain, as the GWS Giants defeated them in a low-key preliminary final. CWM score.
At this point in Nathan Buckley’s coaching career, I was completely puzzled.
At first he had seemed like a failure, they seemed like a man who was potentially learning on the job, before the last days of his mentorship at Collingwood seemed to confirm that he just wasn’t up to it.
At the end of 2021, a season where the Magpies won just six games at the end of the season and crumbled far beyond contention, Collingwood fans finally witnessed what had been considered as inevitable years earlier, as the board and Buckley agreed to go their separate ways.
Most concerning was the negative and heavy handed method used by the team each week and despite the appreciation of all the defensive stalwarts Buckley put in place, only a fool would have believed his conservative approach would one day lead to a flag.
Former Brisbane Lion Craig McRae has been employed as the man to carry the club forward and after what has been a rocky start to the 2022 season, the burst of success that followed speaks volumes not only about his training and guidance, but also Buckley’s inability to extract anything similar from what he openly admits to being a very similar playgroup.
McRae has transformed the Magpies into the most exciting team in the AFL, one on a remarkable run that has seen them win 11 games in a row and become a serious contender who sits second on the ladder heading into the final two weeks. of the season.
As a Fox Footy commentator, the challenge for Buckley was always going to be considerable. A team that many predicted would finish in the bottom three or four on the ladder now find themselves near the top of pop and the man who took the reins made his conservative predecessor look like some kind of goose ; a coach too restrictive and conservative to be able to release a group of players who have proven their attacking potential in 2022.
He was sad to hear Buckley’s comments after the Magpies toppled the Demons in what was another nail biter last Friday night at the MCG as he somehow tried to s to give undeserved credit for a win born out of McRae’s refreshing and expansive coaching.
“It’s been five years of good football with a bad year last year, what Fly has done has been amazing, but it’s been built from the core of a senior core that has been there for five or six years to do that.”
I’m sorry, Nathan, but that’s rubbish.
The Collingwood Magpies had been driven into the ground under your direction, even taking into account the odd spike in success based on a resilient defense.
What the team produces in 2022 is simply brilliant, brave, adventurous and daring; elements that your conservatism would never have allowed.