Debunking the myths around Nathan Buckley – why the Pies are actually headed up

Peter the Scribe Roar Pro

By Peter the Scribe, Peter the Scribe is a Roar Pro New author!

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    Isn’t it interesting the way media works? Supporters latch on to a catchphrase, a byline, a supposed “truth” and regurgitate it as fact.

    Many were surprised when Nathan Buckley was reappointed for two years at the end of a comprehensive football department review. Those close to the club, however, were not as we hear nothing but support from Eddie McGuire, the Collingwood board and the playing group.

    It was the right decision by the club. Buckley is, by all reports, coaching better than he ever has. Why send him to another club now when he is ready to blossom with the rebuilt Pies list?

    The tall poppy syndrome is alive and well and Buckley and Eddie McGuire for that matter are classic tall poppy targets.

    Eddie has rescued the Collingwood Football Club, rehoused it in a premier sporting facility in the middle of Melbourne’s elite sporting precinct, a well-hit torp or two from the Tan track and the ‘G. Buckley was a Brownlow medallist, six-time Copeland medallist, Norm Smith medallist, seven-time All Australian and averaged over 24 disposals a game in a 15-year playing career.

    “No flag” his critics will say, and the haters wish to deny him a flag as coach. No doubt this is what he has now set his sights on with the two-year contract extension.

    Buckley needs to stand on that dais and hold the cup, the need burns at him. In his mind, as such a competitive beast, he has to give the Collingwood football club its next premiership, perhaps multiple premierships.

    The club that has been his home for the best part of 23 years and has given him his base for an extraordinary career must be repaid in kind. If it happens within the next two years we could be looking at the next Sheedy-length coaching tenure.

    Myth No. 1 – Because they were the youngest premiership team in 38 years, they should have won more flags

    Going back 20-odd years, the average age group of premiership players is in a range of 25 – 27.5.

    The end of era Bulldogs of 2016 had an average age of 24.4, the Pies of 2010 were 24 and 57 days. The stats argue the opposite to the myth above.

    Having a younger, more inexperienced and lighter-bodied side makes it harder to win flags and even harder to sustain multiples. The ‘threepeat’ Brisbane and Hawthorn sides were big-bodied, experienced bullies. The Cats of 2007, 2009, 2011 much the same.

    Collingwood were still in the 2011 grand final up to the third quarter, then lost an away preliminary final to a hardened Swans outfit in 2012. They were thereabouts in 2012-2013 but were predictively knocked out by older, bigger-bodied teams.

    Let’s not forget the older, hardened Saints nearly won the first grand final of 2010. Being young doesn’t guarantee anything and simply having a couple of veterans in a premiership side automatically skews the average age.

    Myth No. 2 – Buckley dismantled a premiership team destined for multiple flags

    The exits on the 2010 premiership photo seven years later is not unusual. Compare the St Kilda grand final team of 2010. Take a look at the Hawthorn premiership photo just two years ago or the Swans of 2012.

    The natural attrition of players with wearied bodies, exits for family or personal reasons is normal. To argue that any left purely because of Buckley is speculative at best, pot stirring at worst.

    Regardless, let’s take a look at the players some claim cost the club their chance of multiple flags.

    Heath Shaw GWS Giants Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL 2016

    It’s been hard to watch Shaw succeed at the Giants for Pies fans. (AAP Image/Joe Castro)

    Darren Jolly was an integral part of the 2010 flag when recruited along with Luke Ball for the start of the season. Bitter at being delisted at the end of a disappointing 2013 season, no club expressed interest in his services post-delisting.

    Who is to say Heath Shaw would have had such a renewed spike at his new club without the change of scenery at GWS?

    Shaw, along with Dayne Beams, is one of two players who have hurt the club in departing.

    Shaw, at the time, was seen by the coaching and leadership groups as an undisciplined, destabilising influence at the club. Collingwood, in exchange, got an elite inside mid and potential future captain in Taylor Adams.

    Through a combination of form and injury, Alan Didak fell away quickly post-2012, finally delisted at the end of 2013 with the club realising a mini-rebuild was needed. No club expressed interest in his services post-delisting.

    Chris Dawes was at his best as a combination with then-giant of the competition Travis Cloke. Struggled from the knuckle injury in the 2012 season and requested a trade, but the premiership player never regained those 2010-2011 heights in his career at Melbourne.

    With Mick Malthouse as a father figure it was no surprise to see Dale Thomas join Mick at Carlton at the end of the 2013 season as a restricted free agent. The Magpies’ mini-rebuild prior to 2014 was now well underway.

    Daisy, although a solid performer for Carlton, has never attained the heights he had as arguably one of the best players in the game from 2010-2011.

    Heritier Lumumba agreed with the club it was time to part ways post-2014, a serviceable time at Melbourne followed without reaching his previous highs.

    Dayne Beams, however, along with Heath Shaw, hurt. One of the game’s elite midfielders decided to go home to be with his sick father and play alongside his brother.

    Despite the club offering all sorts of left field alternatives, in the end he wanted out. Conspiracy theorists will tell you it was a smokescreen to hide his poor relationship with Buckley. The facts and Beams himself state otherwise.

    Sharrod Wellingham was another who, despite one good year with West Coast, failed to meet the heights of his days at Collingwood and was delisted by the Eagles this year.

    Travis Cloke at his best, probably 2011-2013, was an aerobic beast and one of the best contested marks in the game. A champion player at Collingwood, before this year a late move to the Dogs proved the game had taken its toll on Travis.

    More than 450 goals and averaged 6.7 marks per game over an extraordinary career.

    Travis Cloke of the Magpies kicks a goal

    Travis Cloke was a monster in his prime at Collingwood. (AAP Image/Joe Castro)

    Nathan Brown had the huge job of stopping Nick Riewoldt in 2010. As the one-on-one contests of big hulking forwards left the game, Brown appeared one-dimensional.

    The more aggressive Lynden Dunn from Melbourne – with the huge clearing kick has been a win – while Brown went on to enjoy a solid year with the Saints.

    Myth No. 3 – Buckley’s coaching has made the side worse each year

    When your starting point is the top, eventually you slide.

    Let’s take a closer look at the Buckley tenure after it was revealed recently by Eddie McGuire that the club started a mini rebuild at the end of the 2013 finals.

    2012: Buckley proved he can coach. He took the team to an away Preliminary final against the Swans in a season featuring 17 wins.

    Despite an 11-game winning streak against the Swans, everything went against them. Many players attended the funeral of ex-player John McCarthy on the Thursday before the game, a six-day break, injury to key playmaker Alan Didak. Collingwood fell short.

    2013: Buckley again proved he can coach. Despite some key injuries during the year, the Magpies finished sixth and were favoured to beat the emerging Port Adelaide, but they stumbled against the super fit young team and bowed quickly out.

    2014 – 2016: The rebuild begins. Out of the side by now are Didak, Jolly, Shaw, Thomas, Dawes, Wellingham, Leigh Brown and Leon Davis.

    At the end of 2014 the Pies lose Luke Ball, Nick Maxwell, Lumumba and Beams.

    Injuries then have an impact. In champion Data’s total games missed by the ‘best 22’ players in 2014, The Pies were hit hardest with arguably the worst result for any side in 2014 and 2015.

    In 2016, it didn’t get much better. Key, long-term injuries – especially soft tissue injuries – were the curse of the now rebuilding club and despite starting mostly well, the seasons fell away.

    The club was acknowledged by Eddie McGuire as having a mini-rebuild from 2014 onwards and was now both rebuilding and covering key injuries to experienced players.

    The upside? Plenty of forced games into the emerging youth. Three years was considered an acceptable rebuild period for the success demanding club. 2017 was the time to return to finals, perhaps 7-8th with one final as the goal.

    2017: The year marked by those deep inside the club as returning to the finals. Didn’t happen for a variety of reasons but this time, injury was not a valid excuse.

    So, what happened? Well, with a reasonably healthy percentage of 99, the Pies were three wins off their goal. They lost winnable games by under six points to GWS and Melbourne and drew with Adelaide after being 50 points up. They also lost games they never should have against St Kilda in round 4 and Carlton in round 7.

    Within the mix were solid wins over West Coast and Fremantle away, big wins over the Cats and Hawks early and close results against the Dogs and Tigers.

    It was a stuttering season that never quite got going – perhaps what you might expect with a number of players still under 40-50 games.

    Myth No. 4 – The draftees have all failed and it is all Buckley’s fault

    Well, for a start Buckley doesn’t make all the calls, although no doubt he contributes significantly.

    Without going through them all, let’s take a look at some key hits and misses.

    The Pies have had double dips into the top ten three times recently. The draft that really hurt – largely due to bad luck with injuries -bwas the 2013 draft.

    2005: As comparison only, prior to Buckley’s appointment, Dale Thomas (2), Scott Pendlebury (5) – Rating 9/10

    2013: Matthew Scharenberg (6), Nathan Freeman (10). Both had a terrible run with injuries, Scharenberg is just getting some consistent footy now and could still turn out a solid pick, while Freeman has spent two years at Collingwood and two years at St Kildat and is yet to debut. 4/10.

    2014: Jordan de Goey (5 – from the Beams trade), Darcy Moore (9), Brayden Maynard (30). De Goey is strong, courageous, kicks goals and is ready to explode, Moore, as a big unit, is just going to get better each year.

    Maynard may well become a Luke Hodge style midfielder/half-back, huge upside and a steal at pick 30. 8/10.

    2015: Brayden Sier (32). Sier has struggled to get established in the VFL but injuries have played their part. Still unknown how the big bodied pick up will fare. 4.5/10.

    2016: Tom Phillips (58), Rupert Wills (63), Ben Crocker (65). Phillips seems a steal at 58, best runner at the club. Wills is a tackling machine and Crocker is a good overhead mark.

    Myth No. 5 – The recruits have all failed and it is all Buckley’s fault

    Quentin Lynch was a back-up only free agent thrown in with the Pies obsession to replace the Leigh Brown type supporting ruck/forward role, but his body was largely gone. 3/10.

    Jesse White was worth a shot at pick 44 with the Pies still looking for the Leigh Brown replacement. 20 plus goals his first three seasons with the Pies, 75 goals in 56 games for the Pies after 73 goals in 71 games for the Swans. 6.5/10.

    Jesse White Collingwood Magpies AFL 2016

    Jesse White was serviceable for Collingwood. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    Patrick Karnezis came at no cost, traded for Jackson Paine, never really got going. 4/10.

    Clinton Young as a free agent was worth a punt, but soft tissue injuries cruelled his time at the Pies as he could have been a handy pick up with his long raking left foot. 4/10/

    Travis Varcoe was essentially got for Lumumba. His first season at the Pies was one of the best in his career for disposals averaged as Varcoe got as fit as he had ever been.

    Has been a class pick up for the Pies albeit with increasing injury concerns past 18 months. 7/10.

    Levi Greenwood cost pick 25 and is rated highly by those close to the club. A beast the Pies needed to complement a young group, stops Joel Selwood every time.

    More time forward than mid means his average disposals have gone down, but he kicks more goals now at the Pies than he did at North. 7.5/10.

    Adam Treloar came for pick seven and a future first-rounder, but Collingwood received pick 28 back.

    An elite midfielder, a running and bouncing machine and at his most dangerous in the final quarter when everyone else is tiring. An exceptional talent who, if he can straighten up his kicking for goal, is only going to get better. 8.5/10.

    Collingwood received former pick seven James Aish alongside picks 34 and 53, and gave up picks No. 26, 28, 47 and a 2016 second-round pick.

    He is training the house down, relearning as an inside mid and a breakout year looms. Wing or even back pocket could be his spot. 6.5/10, with the potential to hit 7-8/10 in 2018.

    Daniel Wells cost nothing as a free agent. The Pies expected to make a final and Wells would have been some experience and elite skills to even perhaps take them to the next step.

    Had come off a 19 game season with North in 2016. When he has been on the field he has been all class, just hasn’t been out there enough as yet. May still fill the experienced role in 2018 and beyond. 5/10.

    Chris Mayne also came as a free agent. Unfair commentary around one bloke who arrived committed to impact with his new club and couldn’t really break into the side in year one.

    He has three years left in an extraordinary deal to prove he has plenty of footy left in him. 4.5/10.

    Will Hoskin-Elliott cost a future second-round pick. A classy player the Pies had their eye on for some time. An excellent first season for the straight-shooting and hard-working wing/forward.

    18 goals and averaged 18+ disposals, 6.5 marks and three tackles per game in his best AFL season. 8.5/10.

    2018 and beyond

    Entering 2018, the Pies have an elite group of in Steele Sidebottom, Adams, Treloar, Scott Pendlebury, Jeremy Howe, Brodie Grundy, Ben Reid and Jamie Elliott.

    The emerging 50-80 game group ready to take the next level include De Goey (age 21, games 50), Moore (age 21, games 47), Maynard (age 21, games 51), Aish (age 22, games 55), Josh Thomas (age 26, games 41), Jack Crisp (age 24, games 84) and Hoskin-Elliott (age 24, games 74).

    Adam Treloar Collingwood Magpies AFL 2016

    Are Collingwood ready to step back up to September? (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    Still needing to establish themselves are Scharenberg, Josh Smith, Tom Phillips, Ben Crocker, Sam Mclarty, Sier, Josh Daicos, Callum Brown, Sam Murray and the new draftees and rookies.

    Experienced, consistent, big bodied veterans include Reid, Tyson Goldsack and Dunn – who has been a revelation.

    X-factor players – who can either languish or become something unique – include Mason Cox and Karly Kirby.

    Cox was courted by both Brisbane and Hawthorn before re-signing, can kick straight and can take a mark.

    If he fails to get game time this year – contract or not – he will want out. If the tandem with Grundy works could he kick 50 plus goals as a Paul Salmon style forward?

    If Kirby gets fit, he could be the X-factor player the Pies have needed for some time. Could he become a mix of Rioli and Motlop, or will the fitness grind be his nemesis?

    The Pies have a dream draw, a core elite and an emerging group around the 50-game mark who appear ready for a huge next step forward.

    The players are unanimously behind Buckley, have committed on-field leadership in Howe, Adams, Pendlebury and Sidebottom, one of the best young rucks in the game in Grundy and enjoy a settled, positive and supportive environment with the best facilities for young sportspeople going around.

    The Pies will make the top eight next year and my prediction is to go straight to threatening top four.

    The scary thing for opposition clubs is most of this group will be together for quite a few years moving forward and we could be watching the new emergence of a Hawthorn style dynasty.

    Have Your Say



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    The Crowd Says (224)

    • December 1st 2017 @ 3:31am
      Thatsashame said | December 1st 2017 @ 3:31am | ! Report

      I love a supporter who is overly optimistic about their team. The pies might sneak into the 8, but they won’t be top 4. Good luck to you Pete. But you won’t catch the mighty bombers!

    • December 1st 2017 @ 3:33am
      Mattyb said | December 1st 2017 @ 3:33am | ! Report

      I nice piece here Pete and I like the way you have structured your article by addressing many of the myths,which is certainly the case even though Collingwoods performances have been disapointing in recent times. Collingwood are always going to cop a bit though being the biggest club in the country,ran by arguably the most successful man in the country,clubs and personalities this large will always devide people equally both ways.

      The stand out points for me regarding Collingwood would be that they actually did the right thing moving Shaw on. His form at GWS has been ok but much of his carry on is why the team is so undisciplined and have so far looked a bit off going to the next level despite being gifted so many players.
      Sacking Malthouse was a mistake but now Buckleys there I agree giving him another 2 years was the right decision.
      I do think it’s possible Collingwood could play finals this year but I’m not tipping it personally. Other than North,Carlton and GC I could see any of the other sides playing finals though as the comp is so even,and I include Collingwood in this.
      You are mighty generous giving the Mayne deal 4.5/10 but maybe if the side can start winning he can contribute in some way.
      With Richmond and Essendon back up there it would be good for VFL football to see Collingwood also contesting at that level next year.

      • December 1st 2017 @ 8:28am
        Peter the Scribe said | December 1st 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

        Thanks Matty, most predict the Pies to miss the eight in 2018 again so I’ll be around to cop my whack if that proves the case. With the Wells and Mayne ratings it is difficult because it is year one of four for Mayne and year one of three for Wells so, in some way, the jury is still out.

      • December 1st 2017 @ 9:02am
        Macca said | December 1st 2017 @ 9:02am | ! Report

        Mattyb – “Sacking Malthouse was a mistake but now Buckleys there I agree giving him another 2 years was the right decision.” Interesting that after 6 years at the helm and going “backwards” every year except the one they managed to stay 12th you believe Buckley deserves2 more years and yet you have Bolton under the pump after just 2 years while performing beyond expectations both years and “going backwards” just 1.

        • Roar Guru

          December 1st 2017 @ 4:58pm
          Paul D said | December 1st 2017 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

          Maybe if you’d actually sign Bolton to a proper contract rather than this ongoing, rolling, memorandum of understanding that can be torn up at any time, you’d have less people calling for his head.

          • December 1st 2017 @ 6:00pm
            Peter the Scribe said | December 1st 2017 @ 6:00pm | ! Report

            I was waiting for you to rip shreds out of my article Paul? Kind of feel like I was left waiting for a day at the Pies v Lions with you but you failed to show up.

            • Roar Guru

              December 1st 2017 @ 6:33pm
              Paul D said | December 1st 2017 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

              I think you’ll find I did

              • December 1st 2017 @ 7:04pm
                Peter the Scribe said | December 1st 2017 @ 7:04pm | ! Report

                Not in my feed you didn’t? Come on Paul halfway through the last qtr scores level and Beamsy just tweaked a hammy! Where you been?

              • Roar Guru

                December 2nd 2017 @ 1:38pm
                Paul D said | December 2nd 2017 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

                Masquerading as an upper class melbourne twit for my own amusement

                In seriousness though I don’t really have strong views on Collingwood, or any of the big melbourne clubs. I think they’re good for the game, they bring the big crowds. All I will say about Buckley is that I think these next two years are really going to show if he has learned anything from the previous six. He knows he has to deliver something now.

                I can only go on what I have seen and observed. My best guess as to one of Bucks problems is that he struggles to empathise with other, lesser humans than himself, who may not find football as easy as he did. I think he fails sometimes to take into account the emotions and headspace of the player he is talking to, because he’s a very intelligent man and he knows that what he has to say makes a great deal of sense. But whether the player is in the frame of mind to be receptive to this, is a different story.

                I remember one time he was having an earnest chat with Darcy Moore straight after a game in the race, Collingwood had lost and he was talking to him trying to instruct him in something in full view of the TV cameras, and the crowd, Moore was absolutely stuffed, it had been a tough night for him getting double teamed and he just did not want a bar of it, you could see his eyes rolling back in his head and glazing over. Little moments and snapshots like that.

                I can relate, I have had to learn a similar sort of patience & understanding in instructing people in my work and understanding not everyone picks up things the same way. Anyways, this is just educated guesswork but I don’t see how Bucks is going to turn things around unless he has grown as a person and is actively working on changing his method of instruction. It just doesn’t seem to be producing optimum results.

                And regardless of what Bucks does I only give the Pies a very slim chance of making the 8, there are just too many teams on paper that have way less gaps and flaws in their list. Over a 6 month season that tells.

            • December 2nd 2017 @ 6:26pm
              Peter the Scribe said | December 2nd 2017 @ 6:26pm | ! Report

              Thanks Paul, eloquent response as expected.

          • Roar Guru

            December 1st 2017 @ 6:22pm
            Col from Brissie said | December 1st 2017 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

            What is the fascination by opposition supporters and the agreement between Carlton and Bolton. Carlton committed to Bolton for 3 years and there was a clause in the agreement that Bolton would be paid out the balance of the agreement if it was cut short. After the three years it will be negotiated again for a further period.

            The AFL coaches association at the time said it was a good deal and smart way to go about it as there is no end date which avoided speculation of re-signing or replacing him.

            A contract didn’t help Voss or Malthouse and every other Coach that has been sacked. If Bolton and Carlton are happy what’s the problem?

            • Roar Guru

              December 1st 2017 @ 6:36pm
              Paul D said | December 1st 2017 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

              “no end date”

              “renegotiated after 3 years”

              “paid out the balance if cut short”

              Sounds like a contract to me! Anyways, there’s nothing wrong with it really – I’m just being snide as usual

            • December 1st 2017 @ 7:29pm
              Mattyb said | December 1st 2017 @ 7:29pm | ! Report

              Col,I think with the current political situation at Carlton there will be some talk regarding Bolton as he continues to remain uncontracted going into his third season (games 44-66). It will be more intriguing if he remains uncontracted now that Trigg has departed considering it was sold as his idea,
              I think early indications are Carltons membership is around 35k for next year which seems ok but I know this is being monitored very closely and is the number one topic around the club. While it might be frustrating I think it would be slightly naive to think a unproven,uncontracted coach is completely safe if the club doesn’t improve in the eyes of the board or other political complications that might arise.

              • Roar Guru

                December 2nd 2017 @ 11:08am
                Col from Brissie said | December 2nd 2017 @ 11:08am | ! Report

                Matty, you are always plumbing the depths to bring out your Carlton negatives. I would imagine membership figures would be foremost at most of the clubs, they are always looking to increase them. Bolton might not have a formal contract but he is no more vulnerable than any contracted coach – they can all be sacked.

              • December 2nd 2017 @ 11:18am
                Macca said | December 2nd 2017 @ 11:18am | ! Report

                Mattyb- Bolton is not “uncontracted”, his contract just doesn’t have a built in termination date, there is a massive difference.

                On membership, the new CEO recently discussed how it didn’t make any sense to do a big membership launch in October/November when no one is thinking about football and so the Blues will have a big push around Feb/March. in that context to already have 35k (although I would like to know where you got that figure) is pretty impressive and should have us on track for another year of increased membership.

                Also did you see Collingwood made a loss while North made a profit last year, just goes to show what I have said is correct, the more a club makes the more they spend so looking at profits is meaningless

              • Roar Guru

                December 2nd 2017 @ 11:50am
                Cat said | December 2nd 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report

                I think your CEO is completely wrong. A lot of clubs are seeing memberships bought as Christmas gifts.

              • Roar Guru

                December 2nd 2017 @ 12:06pm
                Col from Brissie said | December 2nd 2017 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

                According to the Carlton website the current membership figure is just under 33k.

                Cat, also on the Carlton membership site they are pushing Christmas membership vouchers as gifts which I imagine most clubs do. In any club membership there will always be members who purchase their membership early and there are the ones that sit on the fence and tend to wait until the season is about to start to see whether they will buy one.

                These are the ones the new CEO is targeting and believes that pushing for them early isn’t going to make much difference, but having a bigger push just prior to the season opening will get better results.

                For me I don’t see the sense in paying for something 4 or 5 months before you can use it unless you are getting it at a discounted rate.

              • December 2nd 2017 @ 12:11pm
                Macca said | December 2nd 2017 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

                Cat – putting aside our CEO’s great track record of increasing the tigers membership, you objection proves the point. the idea is to be more targeted, don’t have a big launch in November (to early for Christmas purchases), let Christmas do the heavy lifting with a litre nudge from marketing and then have your big launch in feb where you can also push we already have X members.

              • December 2nd 2017 @ 12:34pm
                Darren said | December 2nd 2017 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

                If Bolton is uncontracted what is he doing there?

              • Roar Guru

                December 2nd 2017 @ 12:46pm
                Col from Brissie said | December 2nd 2017 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

                Darren, he doesn’t have the normal contract that has an end date. He is on salary like every other Carlton employee with no specific end date so it avoids the speculation all coaches go through when their contract is coming up for renewal.

          • December 2nd 2017 @ 12:32pm
            Darren said | December 2nd 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

            Who’s calling for his head?

    • December 1st 2017 @ 6:48am
      Slane said | December 1st 2017 @ 6:48am | ! Report

      Classic. Good luck next year Pete.

      • December 1st 2017 @ 8:43am
        Peter the Scribe said | December 1st 2017 @ 8:43am | ! Report

        Thanks Slane. The best part of Summer ending in Melbourne is it’s time for the best game in the world to kick off.

        • December 1st 2017 @ 4:52pm
          Slane said | December 1st 2017 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

          I couldn’t recommend ‘Yellow and Black’ by Konrad Marshall more highly for anybody who wants a little peak inside the ‘4 walls’ of an AFL club. Konrad Marshall went to Richmond in 2016 to write the book but the team was performing so poorly that he had to push into another season. So essentially we have a book documenting the complete turnaround of a team from 13th to 1st and the cultural shift that brought it a out. People say ‘Richmond weren’t far off in ’13, ’14 and 2015 but until you have read this book you could never understand just how much the club changed between 2016 and ’17. A complete overhall of the coaching panel (Including Hardwick). A massive paradigm shift in the aspect of mental training and well being. And most importantly: a complete turnaround in on-field leadership and inter-player relations. Every aspect of the club bar the colours changed after the 2016 offseason and failed leadership challenge.

          • December 2nd 2017 @ 6:28pm
            Peter the Scribe said | December 2nd 2017 @ 6:28pm | ! Report

            Sounds a good read Slane, will get hold of it.

          • December 4th 2017 @ 6:39pm
            Harsh Truth Harry said | December 4th 2017 @ 6:39pm | ! Report

            I reckon someone needs to send about a thousand copies of that book then to the Carlton football Club!

    • December 1st 2017 @ 8:24am
      Harsh Truth Harry said | December 1st 2017 @ 8:24am | ! Report

      Collingwood go backwards each year under Buckley…it will continue next year where at the end of 2018 Buckley will be sacked and Ross Lyon instated. Only then will the Wobbles have any hope…meanwhile, I’ll enjoy the Bombers smashing them twice next year.

    • December 1st 2017 @ 8:59am
      Macca said | December 1st 2017 @ 8:59am | ! Report

      “Buckley is, by all reports, coaching better than he ever has” That is a low bar!

      Here are some facts –

      1) Collingwood has the 3rd oldest list on average in the AFL, wedged in between Geelong and Hawthorn.
      2) Collingwood ranks 12th in the league for players under 21
      3) Collingwood ranks 4th in the league for players over 30.
      4) Under Buckley the Pies have gone backwards on the ladder every year bar 1 when the stayed 12th
      5) There small forwards of Fasolo and Elliott are amongst the worst in the league for forward pressure – the very thing that won Richmond the premiership
      6) Despite the continual slide backwards the Pies added just 1 player in the draft period (a rookie from Sydney) and 1 player in the top 30 draft picks this year

      What points to a turn around in fortunes?

      • December 1st 2017 @ 9:08am
        Peter the Scribe said | December 1st 2017 @ 9:08am | ! Report

        Macca, why the obsession with having the youngest list? What does it mean in terms of success? You continue to point out Carlton’s young list but how does this guarantee anything? Having a young side means you need to defy the odds to win a flag which the Pies did in 2010, the Bombers did in 1993 and the Doggies did in 2016. Sustainable success argues the opposite.

        • December 1st 2017 @ 9:25am
          Macca said | December 1st 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

          Peter – Having a young list doesn’t guarantee success but the improvement of a team comes from players coming in (usually through the draft) and development of young players on the list – but looing at Collingwood they didn’t bring in many young players this year and have very few young players on the list to develop.

          When you look at the fact they have gone backwards almost every year in the past 6 and finished 13th this year combined with the list profile you have to ask where is the improvement going to come from?

          Also given their list profile and their result clearly either their list isn’t good enough or the coach isn’t.

          • December 1st 2017 @ 9:32am
            Peter the Scribe said | December 1st 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

            My argument for rapid improvement is in the article Macca, largely from the emerging ready to bloom group including De Goey, Moore, Maynard, Aish, Hoskin-Elliott and the improvement still to come for Treloar, Adams, Grundy and Jamie Elliott.

            • December 1st 2017 @ 9:43am
              Macca said | December 1st 2017 @ 9:43am | ! Report

              The point is peter every team has “ready to bloom” talent and most of them have considerably more.

              I could say the blues have “ready to bloom talent” in Pickett, SPS, Fisher, Weitering, Marchbank, J Silvagni, C Curnow, McKay, Cuningham, Williamson, Plowman & Byrne with improvement still to come from Cripps & Jones plus they have ADDED “ready to bloom” talent in Kennedy, Lang and Garlett plus top 10 draftees in Dow & O’Brien.

              If Collingwood improve by less than the other teams they go backwards.

              • December 1st 2017 @ 9:57am
                Peter the Scribe said | December 1st 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

                Macca, the past two years have seen a team emerge from that 7-13 group to challenge. I believe the Pies are that club in 2018. The Blues were the worst points for club this year. You have further to go to challenge than the rest of the 7-14 group.

              • December 1st 2017 @ 10:08am
                Macca said | December 1st 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

                Peter – Richmond emerged this year after going and trading in Prestia, Caddy & Nankervis, all key players in the premiership – Collingwood to a Rookie player from Sydney.

                The bulldogs appointed Beveridge for the 2015 season which saw them go from 14th in 2014 to 6th in 2015 and the premiership in 2016 – Collingwood have had the same coach for 6 years and went from 12th in 2016 to 13th in 2017.

                These improvements aren’t just luck – you have to do something to create change.

        • December 2nd 2017 @ 1:18am
          Don Freo said | December 2nd 2017 @ 1:18am | ! Report

          When there is about 8 to 15 months between youngest and oldest, those who quote the figures expose themselves as those that don’t get how footy works.

          Does an old defender borrow a few years from the wing if his opponent is too young? Oh no, wait, he has to shed a few years…ah the coaching staff will sort it.

          • December 2nd 2017 @ 11:51am
            Macca said | December 2nd 2017 @ 11:51am | ! Report

            only those who look at the 1 number in isolation, such as yourself Don, show their lack of knowledge.

            And “when there is about 8 to 15 months h between youngest and oldest”? What the?
            And What happens when there is about 18 months (like there actually is)?

            • Roar Guru

              December 2nd 2017 @ 12:08pm
              Cat said | December 2nd 2017 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

              I hate doing this, I really, really hate doing this, but I agree with Don. Average age of list is nearly a useless stat. Doesn’t tell you anything useful. Young teams and old teams have won flags.

              Things like the number of players over 30, the number of players in each age band, the number of players below 50 games played all these provide much more useful information. Club lists need to be balanced, not just ‘young’

              • December 2nd 2017 @ 12:29pm
                Macca said | December 2nd 2017 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

                Cat – I said as much myself, the age brackets is the more important and nothing should be looked at in isolation

              • Roar Guru

                December 2nd 2017 @ 12:40pm
                Col from Brissie said | December 2nd 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

                I agree with you Cat, the average age stat is useless as a comparison because teams are at different stages. A team at the top probably has a list with the majority of their players over 25 and with over 150 games experience.

                A team around the middle of the ladder has a more even mix of age and experience whist rebuilding teams down the bottom have the majority of their players in the under 25 and less than a 100 games bracket.

                You certainly don’t want to be down the bottom with an older experience list.

              • December 2nd 2017 @ 9:58pm
                Macca said | December 2nd 2017 @ 9:58pm | ! Report

                Col- exactly, which is why in my initial post I listed 6 facts that were intended to be taken as a collective, but unfortunately people focused on the first one because it didn’t require any thought

            • December 2nd 2017 @ 12:16pm
              Don Freo said | December 2nd 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

              Who runs faster? A 24 yo or someone who is 24yrs and 3 months?

              Who runs longer? Who has greater savvy? The point is made. Only you miss it… as always.

              • December 2nd 2017 @ 12:33pm
                Macca said | December 2nd 2017 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

                Don – once again it is you who miss the point, as I said you don’t look at these things in isolation,

                It is the average age, age bracket profile and the ladder position and trend that combine to make a worrying picture for the Pies. It isn’t a problem to have an old list if they are good but when your list isn’t good enough and it is old you have an issue.

              • December 2nd 2017 @ 9:43pm
                Don Freo said | December 2nd 2017 @ 9:43pm | ! Report

                Depends on whether you are talking about the point I made or the kooky point you have chosen to make.

                I’m not interested in any point you think you are making. I dismissed that with my first comment.

              • December 2nd 2017 @ 9:53pm
                Macca said | December 2nd 2017 @ 9:53pm | ! Report

                Don – the point you are trying to make is moot because it looks at just in thing in isolation and out of context when the discusssion is more sophisticated.

                You are welcome to your shallow point that no one is disputing (Cat and I have actually agreed with it) but please stick to you word and stay uninterested in any point I a man making, constantly having to cater for your lack of ability to comprehend is very tiresome.

              • December 2nd 2017 @ 11:23pm
                Don Freo said | December 2nd 2017 @ 11:23pm | ! Report

                Why would any of us change? While you continue to intrude and bore, it is as natural as breathing to remain uninterested.

              • December 3rd 2017 @ 5:06pm
                Jon boy said | December 3rd 2017 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

                Macca your a 100% right,i will probably get Moderated ,but i recently come on this site to talk footy,but from day one i ..have been attacked by a loose canon ( sorry) but i have been a called a lot worse (does not worry me)

              • December 3rd 2017 @ 10:51am
                Macca said | December 3rd 2017 @ 10:51am | ! Report

                Don, I asked you to stick to your word, is that a change for you?

                And given my post was the genesis of this discussion it isn’t possible that I am intruding.

              • December 4th 2017 @ 12:30am
                Don Freo said | December 4th 2017 @ 12:30am | ! Report

                Why would anyone care what you asked? Many of us ask you to go away.

              • December 4th 2017 @ 7:36am
                Macca said | December 4th 2017 @ 7:36am | ! Report

                Oh Don, your words say you don’t care but you actions say the exact opposite.

                If you truly didn’t care you wouldn’t “intrude”.

              • December 4th 2017 @ 9:36am
                Don Freo said | December 4th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

                Despite the fact that you post more than any other poster on The Roar, less than 15% of your comment would involve footy conversation. The rest is argument or needy attempts at self-affirmation.

              • December 4th 2017 @ 9:49am
                Macca said | December 4th 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

                Don Freo- that doesn’t sound like “not caring” to me!

                I would have thought someone who “has worked with words all their life” would realise that “not caring” would mean ambivalence and yet you continue to respond, chastise and express contempt and offence which you would not do if you were truly ambivalent but they are the exact actions of someone with an over inflated ego who cares deeply that their opinion is being challenged.

              • December 4th 2017 @ 11:11am
                jonboy said | December 4th 2017 @ 11:11am | ! Report

                Summed up Beautifully Macca,

      • December 1st 2017 @ 9:10am
        Macca said | December 1st 2017 @ 9:10am | ! Report

        Just 1 more thing Pete – given the Pies have been back just over a month and I doubt they would have even had a scratch match, on what basis is Buckley “coaching better than he ever has”?

        • December 1st 2017 @ 9:13am
          Peter the Scribe said | December 1st 2017 @ 9:13am | ! Report

          Macca, the comment “Buckley coaching better than he ever has” was from several players this year shortly before Buckley was reappointed. Goldsack, Pendlebury, Adams were a few who mentioned this in support of their coach.

          • December 1st 2017 @ 9:26am
            Macca said | December 1st 2017 @ 9:26am | ! Report

            Oh players (and good mates) supporting their coach – I’m convinced.

            But considering they said this before he was reappointed you have to ask, if he was coaching the best he ever has why were they still not winning? If that is his best perhaps his best isn’t good enough!

            • December 1st 2017 @ 9:39am
              Peter the Scribe said | December 1st 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

              Macca, as stated I believe finals were expected in 2017 after the injury plagued rebuild. It didn’t happen for more reasons than I wrote in the article but figured it was long enough already. One point is Thomas, Scharenberg and Jamie Elliott had also missed a lot of footy prior to this year and should also be better in 2018.

          • Roar Guru

            December 2nd 2017 @ 12:12pm
            Cat said | December 2nd 2017 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

            “Buckley coaching better than he ever has”

            And those very biased players (because let’s be honest, they would never dare say the opposite would they?) are basing this claim on what exactly? Doing a better job of running laps? Better match simulation? Better hand holding and cajoling? It can’t be results based because there are not results. It’s nothing but PR and spin. Next up is players setting personal best in time trials, followed by players ‘lighting it up’ on the training track. Its the same puff we hear at this time of year from every club.

    • December 1st 2017 @ 9:00am
      Dan in Devon said | December 1st 2017 @ 9:00am | ! Report

      The potential is there but it requires some tinkering with the game plan. The pies are vulnerable to turnovers and opposition teams have been able to score easy goals when they relinquish position. Essentially the gameplay is weak when their is a transition. Buckley needs to rethink the mid field. Pies have great attacking midfielders but need defensive midfielders too. He could do worse than looking at how soccer teams set up to defend against counter attacks.

      • Roar Guru

        December 1st 2017 @ 10:58am
        Cat said | December 1st 2017 @ 10:58am | ! Report

        Buckley has devised a game plan that requires high precision and excellent disposal, but built of list of terrible kicks and ball users. If you look at most of the team rankings from last year the Pies set around mid-table, yet finished bottom 6 again. That points to a coach who fails to use players to their strengths.

        • December 1st 2017 @ 12:29pm
          Peter the Scribe said | December 1st 2017 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

          Cat, one can argue that the retention of possession is a result of a non functional forward line. Players, lambasted for missing targets, hold on to the ball more with no clear leading forward to catch it. I’m not convinced Moore will play back as claimed. I believe the Pies have options up forward…Jamie Elliott had missed a lot of footy prior to this year. He can play, De Goey is a goalkicking forward, Fasolo can be good when on song and Cox will be given more game time. Cox can actually mark…and can kick straight. Will they try Howe forward? I wouldn’t be surprised. I don’t believe we have as many bad kicks as some claim….of course Adams can butcher it as he is largely getting his kicks as an inside mid under fierce pressure….Crisp? Well he plays half back now. Treloar? I don’t believe he is a bad kick at all.

          • Roar Guru

            December 1st 2017 @ 12:52pm
            Cat said | December 1st 2017 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

            Blaming the forward line for loss of possession but naming midfielders as your worst kicks. You’ve just shot holes in your own argument. It is indeed your midfield that is butchering it, not your lack of a functioning forward line. One could argue its your midfields exceptionally poor delivery which makes the lack of talent forward even more pronounced.

            • December 1st 2017 @ 2:56pm
              Peter the Scribe said | December 1st 2017 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

              The non functional forward line Cat is not about loss of possession…more about running to the wrong spots in presentation, a trait of young, inexperienced forwards. Moore, Cox, De Goey, Hoskin Elliott….all young and learning their craft. They will be better next year.

              • December 1st 2017 @ 3:05pm
                Macca said | December 1st 2017 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

                Peter – Moore and De Goey will both be 22 before next season, Hoskin Elliott is 24 and Cox is 27 in March.

                Moore and De Goey are both around that 50 games mark, Hoskin Elliott has 74 and Cox just 20.

                The young and inexperienced excuse is about to run out.

              • December 1st 2017 @ 3:35pm
                Peter the Scribe said | December 1st 2017 @ 3:35pm | ! Report

                22 is still young Macca surely? Cox may be turning 27 but is new to the game. De Goey and Hoskin-Elliott are new to the forward line.

              • December 1st 2017 @ 3:49pm
                Macca said | December 1st 2017 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

                22 and 50 games is still young but 23 and 70 games is suddenly not so much – they will want to make some strides this year.

                Cox is “mew to the game” but Collingwood signed him in 2014, coming up 27 it looms as a make or break year for him.

                As for Hoskin Elliott – I don’t think you can say he is young or inexperienced.

              • December 1st 2017 @ 4:24pm
                Peter the Scribe said | December 1st 2017 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

                I agree it is make or break for Cox this year Macca in regard to his relationship with the club irrespective of his football abilities. he is a confident chap and believes he can play senior footy and if he doesn’t get the chance in 2018, contract or not, he will go where he believes he will get a game.

              • Roar Guru

                December 1st 2017 @ 6:56pm
                Cat said | December 1st 2017 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

                Cox is in a make or break year … that explains why the Pies just signed him to a new three year deal this offseason. More baffling list management.

              • December 1st 2017 @ 7:55pm
                Peter the Scribe said | December 1st 2017 @ 7:55pm | ! Report

                Cat you don’t think the club spoke to him that if he doesn’t get game time they’ll let him break the contract? Of course they did.

              • Roar Guru

                December 1st 2017 @ 9:43pm
                Cat said | December 1st 2017 @ 9:43pm | ! Report

                Still counts as a list spot and against the salary cap. You don’t get to just make those magically disappear if a player doesn’t perform. You are stuck with those for the next 3 years.

              • December 4th 2017 @ 11:09am
                Peter the Scribe said | December 4th 2017 @ 11:09am | ! Report

                Cat…my point is Cox himself will not stay if he doesn’t get game time. He was very close to leaving this trade season for that very reason. So, if he fails to make it with us, fails to get game time, we will have no contract to honor as he will want out and someone (like a Suns or some such) will pick him up. The fact Hawthorn were interested, means he has value, irrespective of a bad 2018 season languishing in the two’s.

              • December 4th 2017 @ 11:16am
                Macca said | December 4th 2017 @ 11:16am | ! Report

                Peter – that isn’t quite true, now you have contracted him he can only walk to another club if you trade him, it is quite likely that the other club and Cox will only agree to a trade if Collingwood pay the difference between what the new club is willing to pay him and Cox’s current contract with Collingwood.

              • Roar Guru

                December 4th 2017 @ 11:22am
                Cat said | December 4th 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

                Even if he was to retire, he will count as a list spot and his salary will count against the cap (the club would not be obligated to pay him, but for salary cap purposes it still counts).

              • December 4th 2017 @ 12:16pm
                Peter the Scribe said | December 4th 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

                I’m not saying he will retire. He wants citizenship, he wants to play AFL. Yes Macca that is my point – we will trade him to another club – my understanding is we didn’t sign him on any lucrative deal, his demands were more about game time. I believe the second and third year of the deal would not have any problem being picked up in full by another suitor unless he has a real stinker in 2018, in which you are right we would have to pay a portion of year two and year three.

          • December 5th 2017 @ 11:58am
            Harsh Truth Harry said | December 5th 2017 @ 11:58am | ! Report

            Good luck Pete basing your entire game plan for 2018 around Mason Cox! Oh dear I can’t stop laughing on that one Pete!

      • December 1st 2017 @ 6:01pm
        Peter the Scribe said | December 1st 2017 @ 6:01pm | ! Report

        Interesting points Dan, please elaborate.

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