'Great sadness': Nathan Buckley steps down as Collingwood coach

Nathan Buckley, pictured here during Collingwood's win over Adelaide Crows.
Nathan Buckley talks to Collingwood players during their win over Adelaide Crows. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Nathan Buckley has stepped down as Collingwood coach following months of speculation around his future.

Collingwood announced the bombshell decision on Wednesday in a press conference with Buckley, head of football Graham Wright and chief executive Mark Anderson.

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“This is a tough day for our club," Anderson said.

"While we can all see the wisdom in moving on, we know that he will be missed. He is a towering figure in the history of Collingwood.

"We respect him enormously and so it is with great sadness, although it's the right decision for the club and for Nathan.

“Our discussions were all based around what was good for the club and for Nathan, who reminded us all, regularly, that Collingwood had to come first. That is one of the many reasons why he will be forever Collingwood. On behalf of our club, I thank him.”

Buckley will coach the club against Melbourne in the Queen’s Birthday clash on Monday before departing.

“Everything has its time and the club and I have reached ours,” Buckley said.

“Graham and I have been in conversation consistently in the last few months about what the path forward is for the program and what it needs to progress.

“When it came to the senior coaching role it became clear that a clean slate, for new energies and a new voice, was necessary. So that is what has been decided.

“I’ve loved every moment of my time at the club and in any role I have given my all to it. This program is full of so many great people who are committed and connected to one another absolutely.

“I’ll miss being a part of that but will always feel like a part of me is left with them. I sincerely wish all of the staff, coaches and players every success.”

Nathan Buckley, pictured here addressing his players during Collingwood's clash with Geelong.
Nathan Buckley addresses his players during Collingwood's clash with Geelong. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The 48-year-old was due to come out of contract at the end of this season.

He had coached Collingwood since taking over from Mick Malthouse in 2012, winning 116 games during his time in charge.

The bombshell news comes after months of speculation surrounding Buckley's future, with Collingwood languishing in 16th place on the ladder at 3-9.

The Magpies had previously said they would leave a call on the out-of-contract coach's future until the second half of the year - his 10th at the helm.

Months of speculation over Nathan Buckley's future

As recently as last week, Buckley had reaffirmed his desire to continue coaching the Magpies and commitment to the club's "reset" process.

"The situation that we're in is not fatal - it's a moment in time," Buckley said on June 4.

"There's a lot of things that are working for us and will come through in coming years, no doubt."

Buckley conceded in May the club had descended into "reset" mode after a month earlier saying he was "absolutely" aligned with new president Mark Korda's assessment that finals were still on the agenda.

Ranked second-last in the AFL this season for points scored, the Pies produced a goalless first half for the first time since 2005 in their loss to Geelong two weeks ago.

They managed a total of just 151 points on a three-match losing streak recently, equating to their lowest tally over a three-week stretch since 1968.

with AAP

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