Eddie McGuire looks on as then coach Mick Malthouse speaks to the media. Photo: Paul Rovere
MICK Malthouse has questioned his future as a media commentator after a verbal stoush with Eddie McGuire erupted on the airwaves and strained their friendship.
Malthouse called Collingwood's defence ''leaky'' and said there had been a distinct change in game plan under Nathan Buckley, who replaced him as coach after last year's grand final loss.
His comments, made on 3AW after Carlton's 10-goal thumping of the Pies, triggered the ire of club president Eddie McGuire, who fired back at Malthouse on his Triple M breakfast show on Monday.
Malthouse last night said he was surprised at the media storm his comments had made and stressed there were no tensions between him and the Pies, although his relationship with McGuire was strained.
He said he was merely highlighting that game strategies changed week to week, team to team.
''It has made me very nervous about working for [Channel] Seven and 3AW. I'm getting paid to do a job, I don't know if I can do that job as openly and as honestly as I wanted to do that job,'' Malthouse said. ''If that's that the reflection on a comment, I don't need it. We have got to get rid of this notion that I haven't let go. The day I walked out of that football club in October, my mind was firmly fixed on my next employment.
''There are no tensions with me, I'm absolutely in a great space, and I was loving that space up until [Monday] morning because football is now a broader view. I'm looking at 18 teams trying to analyse them for other people. It's fantastic, I love it.''
Buckley yesterday supported his former coach and said that while Malthouse's comments were welcomed, the public battle between him and McGuire was not.
''Eddie's a passionate man and he's going to back and support Collingwood to the hilt. [But] I think where it has got to is it's not great for the footy club,'' Buckley said. ''It has been blown out of proportion. There has probably been a miscommunication that has been fostered in many ways by some outsiders who don't mind to see the miscommunication pushed up.''
Buckley said Malthouse was performing well in his new media role and his views about the Magpies were more informed than anyone else outside the club.
''He knows intimately how the game was played at Collingwood, in recent times in particular, so he can see the differences, and perhaps the changes and the shifts that we are trying to make.
''I read and listened to the comments and all he's doing is making a judgment or passing an opinion on what those changes are, and he's very accurate.''
Malthouse said the Pies were attacking through the middle of the ground more under Buckley, a shift from the team's use-the-boundary plan when he was at the helm.
The three-time premiership coach also highlighted Collingwood's defensive woes, with the Pies, who have one win from three matches, having conceded 37, 24 and 32 scoring shots although injuries to key defenders have compounded the situation. They conceded more than 30 scoring shots only once between 2010 and 2011, against Geelong.