Nick Maxwell and Scott Pendlebury.

Nick Maxwell and Scott Pendlebury. Photo: Vince Caligiuri

NATHAN Buckley says he has a strong relationship with Scott Pendlebury, knows the player's situation and is confident that the 2011 best and fairest will reject overtures from other clubs this year and remain with the Magpies.

Buckley said he was ''confident'' that Pendlebury, who signed only a one-year deal last year, would re-sign with the club and play out his career there. ''My relationship with Pendles is very strong and we're obviously talking about season 2012 more often than not,'' said Buckley.

''But he's got a great love for the footy club, he's got great relationships both inside the playing group and through the coaching and I know that he cares for where the club's going and I think that will be vindicated in due course throughout the year.''

Buckley acknowledged that the club would have preferred Pendlebury to sign for longer than one year during 2011, but said he viewed this as the vice captain ''backing himself in'' to improve his bargaining position and standing at the club, knowing that the collective bargaining agreement (and the salary cap) was then not settled.

Pendlebury's future was among many subjects that the freshly crowned Collingwood coach commented on yesterday in a briefing, in which Buckley also revealed:

■The club's game plan had been unpicked by the opposition late in the 2011 season and would undergo ''modifications'' this year. But Buckley said he would not be ''turning things upside down'', given the club's success in recent years. Buckley said the game plan had been altered slightly, by 5 to 10 per cent, for the 2011 grand final, but that the players had been unable to sustain the necessary changes. He predicted it would end up shifting again. ''I guarantee you that by the end of the year it will shift.''

■He had addressed the 2011 grand final defeat with his players on the day of the club best and fairest for seven or eight minutes only. ''They were harder for longer,'' he said of the premier, Geelong.

■Forward Andrew Krakouer had needed an off-season ''letdown'' after a phenomenal two years and that the club was planning for Krakouer to be at peak fitness for the finals. Krakouer served a 16-month term in jail before dominating the WAFL and then returning to the AFL at Collingwood last year. ''What he's been able to achieve the last couple of years has been phenomenal and at some stage there's going to be a letdown,'' he said.

''And that's what off-seasons are for, not just for Andrew Krakouer, for everyone … everyone's had the opportunity to relax, everyone's had the opportunity to refill their batteries … Krak's come back, he's training strongly at the moment.''

■Senior assistant and ex-Sydney and Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade would help mentor Buckley and develop all the coaches while focusing on the opposition on match days. Buckley would sit in the coach's box rather than on the boundary, at least from the beginning.

■Key experienced pair Alan Didak and Darren Jolly were training extremely well after disappointing 2011 seasons. The durable Jolly had been ''stung'' by a 2011 in which he had missed games and struggled, but had set personal bests in running, while Didak had surpassed expectations in his pre-season to date, coming off a difficult year with injury, form and confidence last year. Buckley said Didak's 2010 season was so recent that there was ''no reason'' he couldn't regain that form.

■The role of departed all-Australian Leon Davis could be filled by a raft of players, including Ben Johnson, Martin Clarke, Tyson Goldsack, Simon Buckley and Tom Young.

■He (Buckley) was ''not comfortable'' with the inevitable focus on himself, as the new coach at Collingwood.