Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has officially announced he is stepping down from his role at the club.
He informed players and staff of his decision this morning. Monday’s Queen’s Birthday clash against Melbourne will be his last game in charge. Robert Harvey will serve as interim senior coach for the remainder of 2021.
“Everything has it’s time and the club and I have reached ours,” Buckley said in a statement posted to Collingwood’s website.
“Graham (Wright) and I have been in conversation consistently in the last few months about what the path forward is for the program and what it needs to progress.
“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.”
Buckley had been under immense pressure all season following the club’s poor start that has netted them three wins from 12 games. Buckley had also been the target of severe criticism for the role he played in Collingwood’s disastrous trade period last offseason.
The ten-year coach publicly criticised journalist Sam Edmund over his reports that Adam Treloar, now at the Bulldogs, had been told by Buckley on a phone call that other players no longer wanted him around. However, not only was Edmund proven correct, but subsequent reports claim the players had no issue with Treloar at all.
Jaidyn Stephenson, now at North Melbourne, also claimed he had been given no indication by Buckley that he’d be up for trade until the last minute.
Buckley took over from premiership-winning coach Michael Malthouse at the start of the 2012 season in a well-publicised handover.
He took Collingwood to a top-four finish and a preliminary final in his first season, but the Magpies were beaten by eventual premiers Sydney in that game.
In 2013, they slightly underperformed in finishing sixth, before suffering a shock loss to Port Adelaide in a home elimination final.
Pressure began to mount seriously on Buckley over the next few seasons as the Pies continued to slide. They finished 11th in 2014, before falling to 12th in 2015 and 2016 and 13th in 2017.
The former club captain earned a surprise contract extension despite the on-field woes and it paid immediate dividends, with the club shooting up the ladder in 2018.
They upset reigning premiers Richmond in a stunning preliminary final and kicked the first five goals of the decider against West Coast, but saw their lead slowly whittled away as they eventually went down by five points in a classic.
They didn’t quite hit the same highs in 2019, making it through a home preliminary final but going down to Greater Western Sydney, before barely scraping into the top eight last season.
They earned a famous win over West Coast in that elimination final, but were simply no match for Geelong in the semi-final.
This season has been a different story, with the Magpies enduring shocking scoring woes and being stuck in the bottom four with just three wins to their name.