The Collingwood’s 2018 side are strangely similar to the Richmond side that won the 2017 premiership.
Collingwood finished 13th on the ladder in 2017 and currently sit second on the 2018 ladder. This is similar to the 2016 Richmond side, which finished 13th on the AFL ladder at the end of that season but the following year won the premiership.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick was also the talking point of the AFL media in 2016, with any thinking the Tigers board would sack him – but Hardwick was given a contract extension, and he repaid the club’s faith in him with a premiership in 2017.
In 2017 Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley was on the verge of being sacked because of the team’s poor performance on the field. Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury revealed to the Jock and Journo podcast in May 2018 that Buckley was under pressure and that it took a toll on him and the players.
“I think every player was worried every week because you didn’t know”, Pendlebury said. “I wouldn’t have been shocked either way if Round 3 he was re-signed, or Round 3 he had have got the arse because you just didn’t know.
“There was just so much pressure on this football club. Credit to how he handled himself last year, I thought he was brilliant.”
Buckley re-signed with Collingwood for two more seasons in August 2017, and the atmosphere at Collingwood changed from 2017 to 2018, with Pendlebury saying it was totally different.
Pendlebury has always been a huge supporter of Buckley. He believes Buckley has the game plan to take Collingwood to the promised land in football and that Buckley just needed the right side and a good run with injuries.
Buckley has turned around their fortunes on and off the field in 2018, and now they are up there as the main flag threat to Richmond.
If Richmond’s 2016 and 2017 seasons are anything to go by, Collingwood could do a Richmond and win the 2018 premiership.