Former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley was part of Walyalup's (Fremantle) coaches box for Saturday's matchup with Narrm (Melbourne), "observing" the Dockers' operations under Justin Longmuir.

Both Buckley and Longmuir are former colleagues, with the latter having worked closely under the Magpies great at Collingwood for two years before being appointed as the coach of Fremantle.

Buckley hasn't coached since midway through the 2021 season, having stepped aside from his role after a decade in the hot seat for the club he captained and played 260 games for.

The 50-year-old has since built a career in the media, working for Fox Footy and SEN since leaving Collingwood, while continuing to deny any prospects of a return to coaching.

The 2002 Norm Smith Medal winner was pictured over Longmuir's shoulder in Fremantle's coaches box for the Dockers' Round 11 clash with the Demons, with the club confirming Buckley is in attendance to get first-hand access to how his former assistant was pulling strings on game day.

"Nathan Buckley will be observing the game today from our coaches box," a club post read.

"JL (Longmuir) and Bucks have a relationship from their Collingwood days and Nathan was keen to see how things operate on game day."

Buckley's peculiar presence in the MCG coaches box comes just days after Richmond coach Damien Hardwick handed in his resignation at Punt Road. But the former Magpies coach had initially planned to take part in the exercise earlier in the season.

"I spoke to JL earlier in the year. I was actually over in Perth five weeks ago with the intent of sitting in the coaches box, but the timing wasn't right," Buckley said on Fox Footy on Sunday.

"It was great to be able to get in with the Fremantle coaching group, their pre-match meetings and post-match meetings, just to get a sense of how they're going about it.

"I supposed as a media personal to have that insight is pretty effective as well."

The timing of Buckley's reunion with Longmuir raised eyebrows across the competition, only for Buckley to quash any chance of his own permanent return to coaching amid the early days of the Tigers' search.

The 2018 AFLCA Coach of the Year previously stressed his desire to pursue a career in the media over coaching after vacancies at GWS and North Melbourne opened in 2022, with Buckley echoing the same sentiment this week.

When quizzed as to whether he'd pick up the phone if Richmond reached out, Buckley was adamant in his response.

"How many different ways can you say no?" he said with a smile.

Richmond are set to commence an extensive process to find their next senior coach, with caretaker Andrew McQualter - who will likely be considered for the role - set to lead the Tigers for the remainder of the 2023 season.

Buckley coached the Magpies in 218 games, winning 117 matches and took the club to the 2018 Grand Final.