Eddie McGuire has responded to angry Collingwood fans after the club parted ways with four players in a brutal $2 million split on the final day of the trade period.
Pies supporters are reeling after star midfielder Adam Treloar, former Rising Star winner Jaidyn Stephenson and wingman Tom Phillips were forced elsewhere as they contend with a salary cap debacle.
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Treloar landed at the Western Bulldogs after his deal was processed right on the Thursday night deadline.
The 27-year-old joined wingman Phillips (Hawthorn), goalsneak Stephenson and three-game youngster Atu Bosenavulagi (both North Melbourne) in exiting Collingwood.
Collingwood list manager Ned Guy on Thursday night claimed the salary cap issues were a “beat-up” and the Magpies were instead intent on improving their position at the draft.
The trades netted the Pies picks 14, 65, 70, as well as a future second-rounder.
But the club’s large army of fans are livid at the exodus and are not buying the excuses for losing players who were all contracted next year.
Collingwood chairman McGuire addressed the furore on Friday morning.
“It's the toughest thing when you’re a supporter, because you love your players and your players love you,” McGuire said on Triple M radio.
“We got the end of this campaign… and you either say, ‘Ok, do you make the moves that need to be made to go through there?’
“These days it’s really tough … it’s been a very hard year for everybody. I hate this period.”
Collingwood GM of Football Geoff Walsh claimed the Pies never chased the signature of Hawthorn’s Tom Lynch, to which McGuire added: “Just to clear that last bit, spoke to him, didn’t go after him.”
Fans left seething over Collingwood ‘disaster’
On Thursday night Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley described seeing three best-22 players depart in cut-price trades as his toughest day in footy.
Buckley, who lost two grand finals as a Collingwood player and one as a coach, was shattered by losing the talented trio, as well as three-game youngster Bosenavulagi.
“My toughest day in footy.... bar none,” Buckley wrote on Twitter.
“Managing contracted players who love the environment out of the club is a lose/lose situation in the short term. The decisions aren't popular but they were necessary.
“I wish Adam, Jaidyn, Tom and Atu all the best at their new clubs.”
Fans and former players, including Dane Swan and Dale Thomas, took to social media in disbelief on Thursday night.
Treloar’s exit caused the most outrage among fans, with Guy admitting he would probably still be at Collingwood if netball star wife Kim Ravaillion wasn’t heading to Queensland to play with the Firebirds next year.
“We had some conversations with Adam and (manager) Tim (Hazell) originally around whether his family was going to move to Queensland and whether he wanted to do that and it evolved from having that conversation to he thought he’d look at another opportunity,” Guy told Fox Footy.
When asked if Collingwood would have considered trading Treloar if Ravaillion was continuing her career in Victoria, Guy said: “That was the catalyst for the discussion.”
“We wouldn’t have looked to have that discussion. It wouldn’t have evolved from that, I wouldn’t have thought, no.”
Popular comedian and Collingwood fan Peter Helliar added: “Love my footy club and maybe there is a master plan that will unfold ahead of us but even with that said … I have never felt this flat as a Pies supporter than right now.
“At some point the members will need all this explained.”
North Melbourne champion David King said he’d never seen anything like it.
“I’m struggling to get my head around clearing $2 million in a salary dump at the expense of some wonderful young talent that you’re going to try and find the next wildcard talent in the draft,” he said on Fox Footy.
“I’m struggling to get my head around this being part of any plan.”
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