Speaking on Fox Footy’s AFL 360, Buckley, who has held the top job at the Magpies for 10 seasons, admitted that he would have conversations with the club if “changes need to occur”.
Buckley is out of contract at the end of the season as the Pies slumped to a 1-4 record ahead of their blockbuster ANZAC Day clash against Essendon.
AFL 360 co-host and Herald Sun journalist Mark Robinson on Monday night questioned Buckley’s desperation and his future at the club.
Check out the conversation between the two below.
Mark Robinson: There’s been a re-track for Collingwood, I think. You’re bringing in a lot of kids, you’re trying say Keane down back, Darcy forward. A sort of semi-rebuild of your list is going on, whatever you want to call it. You’re setting out on this path of doing this.
Do you desperately want to continue next year, and continue rebuilding this football club? Because it’s begun, it’s begun in the first five weeks this year. So it’s a real reset for the club and for yourself. Are you super keen to coach next year, or do you think that’ll be a decision that you and the club will have to make at the end of the year?
Nathan Buckley: I think it’s a discussion that clubs and coaches make at different points of their journeys. My journey with Collingwood has been intertwined for a long period of time; on the field, off the field.
I have a great passion for the club, I have a great passion for helping young men make their way through it, and we’ve been challenged quite a bit on and off the field as an organisation. And I think we’re taking great strides towards being a better organisation – and we want to be a better team as well.
You look at our win-loss right now, we’re 1-4; I’m accountable to that, I take responsibility to that, but I also don’t think it’s dire.
I think we have some youth to look forward to, but we also have some connection pieces that we haven’t been able to find at this point that I’m pretty sure when we find them, we can be a very good team in the short-term. So it’s not just about next year or the year after. I do still think we can be a good team this year.
MR: Do you desperately want to coach this football club next year?
NB: I’m desperately doing that right now, and doing it to the best of my ability.
MR: And next year?
NB: Well, I’m contracted until the end of the year. So I understand where you’re trying to go with this.
MR: I just want to understand your passion. I know your passion’s strong. You shouldn’t have to beg for your job, and go on TV, but-
NB: -and I won’t.
MR: I’m just trying to get a handle on how desperate-
NB: I don’t have any desperation in me at all. I’m really focused on what I’m doing right now, and I believe that if I’m doing that job to the best of my capacity, and the people around me are thriving and blossoming, then that’s what a senior coach’s role is. If they’re not, and if change needs to occur, well then I’ll be apart of having that conversation as a club.
(Graham) Wrighty’s been in the chair now for 11 weeks, and he knows the game pretty well, and I’m pretty sure he brings fresh eyes to have a look at hat. I value his opinion and his perspective. Our CEO’s been there for three or four years, you know, we’ve got a fairly established leadership group in the playing group and our coaching panel is largely established.
So there’s enough fresh ideas there, but we’ve just got to execute. If you don’t win, if you don’t perform well on the weekend or over a period of time, a player has selection feedback. I think that happens for us (coaches) on a little bit longer timeline, but it happens.
"Do you desperately want to coach this football club next year?"
— Fox Footy (@FOXFOOTY) April 19, 2021
Collingwood has slumped to 16th on the AFL ladder after five rounds, coning off a tumultuous off-season that included the ‘Do Better Report’, Eddie McGuire’s resignation and notable player exits.
After their ANZAC Day clash, Collingwood face the undermanned Gold Coast and the winless Kangaroos in a potentially-career defining month for the Magpies coach.