Stephenson was told to find a new home in acrimonious circumstances in the Pies’ bid to to clear salary, however some reports have said Magpies coach Nathan Buckley wasn’t a fan of the former Rising Star winner.
— North Melbourne (@NMFCOfficial) November 16, 2020
Speaking less than an hour after the move, Stephenson said he was hurt by the way his exit was handled and by some of the reason he was given as to why he was no longer wanted.
The 21-year old claimed that Buckley had told him that “he hadn’t opened up to the group enough”, something Stephenson didn’t agree with.
Stephenson also said that there were things about him that Buckley claimed not to like as a footballer.
The young gun said he was keen to make an impact at his new club and prove a point.
“It’s certainly put a little chip on my shoulder and (given me) a lot of motivation to get out there and work hard and put my best foot forward here at North,” Stephenson told reporters on Monday.
“I’m really looking forward to the time that comes when we get to play Collingwood.”
Buckley spoke on SEN radio on Monday and said Stephenson was told during his exit interview that the Magpies were open to trading him.
Stephenson denied that claim however, saying he was shocked to learn he might be traded through his manager and not the club just days out from the trade period.
Stephenson and Buckley have spoken since the trade period to clear the air but have been unable to agree on the details of the communication between the pair.
“I think there’s a difference between ‘what you need to work on’ and being traded,” Stephenson said.
“I didn’t have any indication, that’s how I felt, but the (dialogue) between us obviously wasn’t clear enough both ways.
“But it’s alright, it’s turned out well for me in the end.”
Stephenson said he has no hostility towards Buckley and would happily “sit down and have a chat or a beer” with his former coach in the future.
He is confident that a new environment will help him grow and develop.
“As young players we’re continually growing and building and we’ve all got things to work on, whether that be on the field or off the field,” Stephenson said.
“I’ve addressed mine and hopefully I can continue to improve on those.
“I’m sure the environment here at North Melbourne will help me to do that.”