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Buckley could prove to be one of the great coaches

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley talks to a packed media conference about star player Harry O'Brien.

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley talks to a packed media conference about star player Harry O'Brien. Photo: Jason South

Nathan Buckley has been Collingwood's longest-serving captain. He has also won a club-record six best and fairest awards. He won't reach Jock McHale's record of 714 games coached, but the signs indicate he could well prove to be one of Collingwood's finest coaches and ambassadors.

Buckley achieved everything as a player, other than the ultimate – being part of a premiership team. When he retired from the field, he impressed with his professionalism in the football media. He then began a coaching career as an assistant, something his contemporaries in Michael Voss and James Hird didn't do to their detriment.

On Friday night, the Brownlow medallist will coach his 40th senior game. If the Pies beat the Crows, his success rate will be 67 per cent. That's much better than the career success rates of Leigh Matthews, Mick Malthouse and Kevin Sheedy, who are all in the high 50s.

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley.

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley. Photo: Getty Images

Obviously, Buckley will have to prove he can go the distance, and in long coaching careers there will be down seasons, but in what has been a short time in the hot seat, Buckley has impressed as he has overcome the many challenges he has already faced.

The first was to hold his tongue and maintain his dignity when the planned and agreed coaching succession plan with Malthouse started to fray. Buckley was slighted and unfairly ridiculed more than once, but his composure and class stood firm while others didn't.

He then has the courage to be his own man and do things his way as coach. Plenty of new coaches don't.

So things were done differently at Collingwood. Older players who have had success are often reluctant to change. There's no doubt some senior players didn't appreciate the new challenges. But the coach stood firm and was prepared to play kids who would do it his way.

Last year Buckley introduced seven new players into the senior team. This year, another seven have made their debuts, which is the most for any club. In last week's win against Carlton, of the eight youngest players on the ground, seven wore black and white.

It's impressive. And as the kids help to get wins, the older ones realise it's "get on board or get out".

A rotten run with injuries hasn't helped. Last year four of the top six goalkickers were Dayne Beams, Alex Fasolo, Tyson Goldsack and Dale Thomas. They have hardly been seen thus far. Also missing for large chunks of the season have been Darren Jolly, Lachlan Keeffe, Andrew Krakouer, Clint Young and Alan Toovey.

The last week has been a tough one for the Pies, but the Harry O'Brien situation has been handled with a satisfactory balance of sensitivity and strength. Buckley is an accomplished media performer and in times like these he is the ideal man to front for his club.

An embarrassing loss to Port Adelaide two weeks ago could well be the catalyst for the Pies to put their season on track. No one shied away from how bad the loss was and a spike in effort was promised. After a slow start last week against the Blues, the Pies got on a roll and delivered. Super performances from senior players in Dane Swan, Scott Pendlebury and Travis Cloke showed the senior boys are on the same page as the coach.

A win on Friday night over Adelaide, followed by games against Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney could set Collingwood up with a four-win block that will build confidence and form as it approaches its big pre-September test. In rounds 19, 20 and 21 the Pies take on Essendon, Sydney and Hawthorn; all teams that comprehensively beat them in the first half of the season.

There are good reasons why the Pies can optimistically look ahead. They have a coach who has weathered several storms to take on an elevated standing in the game. Ben Reid is proving to be a match-winning swing man. If Keeffe can return to defence and Nick Maxwell can take on taller opponents in the back line, then Reid will be invaluable support for Cloke, who is nearing top form. Heath Shaw is working some effective lock-down jobs. New boys Marley Williams and Paul Seedsman have added dash off the half-back line.

For years the Pies haven't had a tagger. Brent Macaffer has taken on the role and is doing an excellent job as he has the concentration, will, size and skill to curtail elite midfielders. He can also do a defensive forward role if needed. Krakouer's return is so important to the forward mix. His creativity sets up plenty of goals. Dayne Beams won last year's best and fairest. His return will ease the load on the midfield and he will be a regular goalkicker.

Jolly, if fit, is still one of the game's best ruckmen. In his absence Ben Hudson has been good value and Jarrod Witts has been getting invaluable experience. Coming off a knee reconstruction, Luke Ball can only get better with each game played.

Hopefully O'Brien can get his life back on track and return to the back line. In full flight, he is a fine, attacking defender. So there is a big upside for the Pies as September looms. During these trying times at Collingwood, there's been one player I have really admired, and that's Jarryd Blair. The little fellow never stops trying. He gives his absolute all. He has energised a team that, for a period, lost its spark. I hope he has a terrific September.


  • Comparing his record to the all time great coaches in his 2nd year after taking over a premiership team is a bad joke. Also Fremantle have proved this year that injuries aren't a valid excuse.

    Date and time
    July 11, 2013, 10:10PM
    • He coaches a team now with around ten senior guys injured, and has brought in 14 kids in two seasons, more than any other club . The team he now coaches is vastly different to our premiership team, nothing like it really,. Jealousy is a curse eh. !

      Mt Evelyn
      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 12:45AM
    • Pies have an injury list? Compare whose injured to other clubs. The pies have there studs fully fit and there fringe players getting injured. Start using it as an excuse when Swan, Pendels and Cloke are out.

      Plus all the young kids he has blooded are the same type of player who can go missing and not change the result of the game. I agree Freo are doing well without there studs.

      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 8:18AM
    • Dear Pienschess, both GWS and GCFC had more debuts than Collingwood over the last two seasons. Don't believe everything you read.

      Big Sound
      West of the town
      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 8:49AM
    • What a joke, good player but the man was gifted a race horse not like Voss Hird sanderson or Hinkley come on great coach trash talk walls.

      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 9:09AM
    • + 1... it's an insult to Sheeds, Malthouse and Matthews to put Bucks in their stratosphere.

      He'll last 3 years before they start pointing fingers at his sub-par seasons. I look forward to it.

      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 9:27AM
    • Its all mind games. Walls is gunning for Magpies.

      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 10:27AM
  • Crikey don't they all jump on board after one win...

    The Pies have been insipid in their losses, one big result over a vey ordinary side doesn't erase that.

    Cathy Little
    Date and time
    July 11, 2013, 10:58PM
    • NO doubt you conveniently forget to mention we have had ten senior players out injured nearly all season, take ten out of the cats and hawks and lets see how good they are, You also forget the PIes beat the mighty Cats, one of the few teams who has, beaten them three straight actually, the hawks cant beat em. !

      Mt Evelyn
      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 12:43AM
    • Gee, some people are a bit sensitive Piesnchess. Sydney has nine of their premiership players out, Fremantle and Eagles have trouble fielding a team, but do they use it as an excuse? The fact is he inherited a premiership team and it has gone down and is struggling to make the eight. Maybe some day Buckley will prove to be a great coach but it is a bit early to make that call with the evidence available.

      the sky
      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 8:54AM

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AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS 132vs CAR 51 Report Stats
HAW 134vs BRI 62 Report Stats
NTH 73vs WBU 96 Report Stats
ESS 47vs RIC 74 Report Stats
GCF 51vs PTA 88 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 126vs WCE 69 Report Stats
STK 38vs SYD 135 Report Stats
FRE 108vs MEL 54 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC 108vs NTH 67 Report Stats
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE 119vs ADE 80 Report Stats
BRI 130vs WBU 122 Report Stats
PTA 122vs FRE 53 Report Stats
HAW 113vs CAR 56 Report Stats
SYD 127vs GCF 64 Report Stats
WCE 125vs STK 30 Report Stats
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
MEL 103vs GWS 77 Report Stats
COL 92vs ESS 95 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Fri, 11 SepTimes shown AEST
WCE 96vs HAW 64 Report Stats
Sat, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
FRE 69vs SYD 60 Report Stats
WBU 102vs ADE 109 Report Stats
Sun, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC 88vs NTH 105 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Fri, 18 SepTimes shown AEST
HAW 135vs ADE 61 Report Stats
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 51vs NTH 77 Report Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
FRE 67vs HAW 94 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
WCE 80vs NTH 55 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 27
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
HAW 107vs WCE 61 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 22 17 5 0 118.73 68
West Coast Eagles 22 16 5 1 148.22 66
Hawthorn 22 16 6 0 158.40 64
Sydney Swans 22 16 6 0 127.12 64
Richmond 22 15 7 0 123.09 60
Western Bulldogs 22 14 8 0 115.12 56
Adelaide Crows 21 13 8 0 115.71 54
North Melbourne 22 13 9 0 106.45 52
View all

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