Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley is set to step down from his post this afternoon, midway through a disastrous AFL season campaign by the Magpies marred by off-field turmoil.
The club this morning confirmed that Buckley will depart the club after Collingwood’s upcoming Queen’s Birthday Monday game against Melbourne, which is being held at the Sydney Cricket Ground due to COVID restrictions in Victoria.
The move brings to an end a playing and coaching relationship with the club that has spanned some 478 games combined, with 217 of those coming as senior coach.
The Magpies have enduring a hellish start to season 2021, posting a 3-9 record which currently has them in 16th place on the ladder. Off-field, however, the club is enduring a the fallout of a power vacuum created by long-time president Eddie McGuire‘s departure in February. Replacement president Mark Korda is already facing a leadership spill, with former Nine managing director Jeff Browne leading a challenge to the club’s current board.
In a statement posted to the Collingwood website, Buckley asserted “Everything has its time and the club and I have reached ours.”
“When it came to the senior coaching role it became clear that a clean slate, for new energies and a new voice, was necessary. So that is what has been decided. I’ve loved every moment of my time at the club and in any role I have given my all to it. This program is full of so many great people who are committed and connected to one another absolutely. I’ll miss being a part of that but will always feel like a part of me is left with them. I sincerely wish all of the staff, coaches and players every success,” the 48-year-old stated.
Buckley’s tenure as coach peaked in 2018, when Collingwood came within one solitary kick of snaring the AFL Premiership, falling short to West Coast in an instant classic Grand Final.
However severe off-field turbulence following the 2020 season, including the departure of McGuire and the unceremonious jettisoning of star player Adam Treloar, have dampened the Magpies outfit’s fortunes significantly this year.
Senior assistant coach Robert Harvey will succeed Buckley as interim caretaker coach for the remainder of the 2021 season while the club begins the search for a permanent replacement.
Ross Lyon has not made any official comment on the suddenly vacant coaching position, but is expected to smirk like an asshole about it on Fox Footy soon.Image: Getty Images / James Elsby