There is a lot to put aside when it comes to discussing Nathan Buckley as Collingwood coach.
There is the salary cap disaster that has triggered a fire sale netting Picks 14, 65, 70 and a future second-rounder and losing Adam Treloar, Jaidyn Stephenson, Tom Phillips, Atu Bosenavulagi and Picks 26, 33, 39 and 42.
There is the last five years of first-round picks at Collingwood that are all now gone: 2015 and ’16 were traded for Treloar, 2017 was used on Stephenson at Pick 6, then 2018 and ’19 were traded for Dayne Beams.
There is the disastrous deal to bring Dayne Beams back to the club on a four-year deal, netting a total of nine games and a potential payout of over $1 million.
There is the lawsuit facing the club now in the Heritier Lumumba case.
There is the over-paying of players at Collingwood of late, including Brodie Grundy, Adam Treloar, Tom Phillips, Jaidyn Stephenson, Mason Cox and harking back to Daniel Wells.
There are the various off-field indiscretions over the past few years by both players and staff.
Putting aside all of that, two players on being exited with no fan farewell have come out and spoken against their treatment at the hands of the club.
Jaidyn Stephenson had to call Buckley to find out what was happening and was allegedly told to “pursue a trade heavily” and “he doesn’t know if I allowed myself to open up to the group”.
Firstly, is that now a requirement for a 21-year-old kid who is a natural player? To open up and be extroverted in a macho environment with blokes ten years older than him, closed inside a weird hub life away from family and friends?
Secondly, why did he have to call? Why didn’t anyone in management check in on the kid? Where’s the “Side by Side” so heavily preached?
As for Adam Treloar, he has now confirmed Buckley told him senior players wanted him out.
If this was truly said to Adam Treloar and Nathan Buckley completely made this up to push Treloar out the door, then his position as senior coach is now untenable and Eddie McGuire has no option but to terminate his services.
The senior group of players would simply not be able to work with someone who would have lied about them as a group.
If the senior playing group truly did not want him, then surely that is just as bad? Buckley has thrown them under the bus.
The only way Nathan Buckley survives this is if they completely refute it was ever said.
List manager Ned Guy would likely have to go as well for his part in the salary cap debacle.
Collingwood’s horror night continues with more culling to come.