After a tumultuous Trade Period, an exciting AFL Draft and the announcement of Eddie McGuire’s decision to step down at the end of next season, Magpies fans have endured an interesting off-season and we haven’t even reached the new year.
Collingwood crept into the top-eight in 2020 and with many believing they have taken a step backwards since, they could miss out on September football next year and add to the rumoured unrest within the fall walls of the Holden Centre.
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The pressure is already mounted on the shoulders of the 22 players that run out onto the field for arguably the biggest club in the league and now with the recent shock departures of Adam Treloar and Jaidyn Stephenson, the barometer could hit breaking point for a number of key figures in the black and white.
Speaking on SEN Breakfast, former Australian cricketer and media personality Simon O’Donnell believes the events of the off-season will have a prolonged impact on the current Magpies playing squad.
“I’m more concerned about the inner sanctum, about the players themselves with all the Adam Treloar issues and players exiting Collingwood, the rumor mill and who said what. That just didn’t go away for a long period of time,” O’Donnell said.
“I wonder where that all sits now with the coach and his players. That’s the relationship that needs to be rebuilt if there has indeed been a fracture.
“Trust is the key ingredient for any sporting club, and for the elite ones it’s the bones, it’s the whole lot, it’s everything.
“That’s going to be the most important thing for Nathan Buckley because when it comes to looking your players in the eye and asking your players for herculean effort, it only takes one pair of eyes that don’t pay attention and you’re done.
O’Donnell added that he believes there will be an added degree of pressure and interest on the 2021 Collingwood squad.
“I think they always are, but there’s an extra layer to it now with what has happened,” O’Donnell said.
“When you question trust within a unit, that is probably the biggest stumbling block you have to get over. If you don’t get over it, the fall from grace will be mighty.
“Eddie’s decision is an interesting one that will run alongside this as well. Will there be that bit of ‘do it for the boss, do it for the guy who has given 23 years of impeccable service to the club’?
“There are a lot of different layers here that I want to watch unfold.”
To add to the theatrics, the Magpies will play the Bulldogs at the MCG in Round 1, kicking off a tough start to their new campaign which will be followed by matches against Carlton, Brisbane, GWS and Essendon.