'Won't be coach next year': Startling call on Nathan Buckley's future

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Nathan Buckley, pictured here addressing his players during Collingwood's loss to Western Bulldogs.
Nathan Buckley addresses his players during Collingwood's loss to Western Bulldogs. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Caroline Wilson says she doesn't think Nathan Buckley will be an AFL coach next year following comments he made in the pre-season.

The 2021 season is Buckley's 10th in charge of Collingwood, however he doesn't currently have a contract for 2022.

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Speaking in the pre-season to AFL Media, Buckley said he “doesn’t have to be” a coach, prompting Wilson to predict he won't be back at Collingwood next year.

“That’s been my gut feeling all summer,” the veteran journalist said on Footy Classified on Monday night.

“I’m not expecting Nathan to bang the desk and say I’m the best man for the job, but I’ve felt that all summer.

“I feel as though Collingwood is at the crossroads, Scott Pendlebury is getting older - he’s their best player still - and there were so many other changes at so many levels, I just feel Nathan will go off and have a really good career in the media.

“I’m not predicting anything. I don’t think he’ll be coaching next year - but I’ve been wrong before, and I’ll be wrong again.”

Buckley stunned the AFL world when he said he's happily step aside if it was best for the club.

“I don‘t feel like I have to be the senior coach going forward if that’s the best thing for the club and I feel that I can still impact and help the club move towards contending consistently and winning flags well then I’ll put my hand up,” he said.

“And if the club felt it was better to go in another direction then I would understand that.

“That conversation will be held in good faith and it‘s not something that we’ll be addressing until later in the year.”

Nathan Buckley, pictured here during Collingwood's pre-season clash with Richmond.
Nathan Buckley looks on during Collingwood's pre-season clash with Richmond. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Tumultuous 2020 may have taken toll on Buckley

Wilson said a tumultuous 2020 season may have taken a toll on Buckley.

Collingwood were dumped out of the finals after being thrashed be Geelong, before Buckley and wife Tania announced their separation.

He was then at the centre of controversy during Adam Treloar's messy exit from the club during November's trade period.

“Don’t you think he’d be a bit exhausted after fighting for his job last time, and keeping it, and then what went on in the off-season?” she asked.

“And the stuff he said about Treloar, and what went on there, and the Do Better report and then Eddie going. You wouldn’t blame him for being fatigued.

“Can he bounce back from that? I don’t know, personally I think he might just think enough’s enough. He got so close twice.”

Essendon great Matthew Lloyd said Buckley can still be one of the game's top coaches - if he has the desire.

“If he’s hungry to do it, he’s still got it in him to be a good coach,” Lloyd said.

“It’s just whether he’s got that hunger. It’s been 10 years, and Collingwood if they don’t make the finals, they may want a fresh start.

"He’s got a lot to give Nathan Buckley if he’s still got the hunger.”

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