Ross Lyon makes massive call on Collingwood coaching job

Ross Lyon says he's interested in the vacant Collingwood coaching job after Nathan Buckley's exit.
Former AFL coach Ross Lyon has admitted he has interest in the now vacant coaching job at Collingwood, after Nathan Buckley announced he would be stepping down. Pictures: Getty Images

Former AFL coach Ross Lyon has admitted he has interest in the now vacant Collingwood coaching job, following Nathan Buckley's shock departure.

Buckley, who has coached the Magpies since 2012 after taking over from premiership mentor Mick Malthouse, announced he would step down from the job on Wednesday.

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AWKWARD: Nathan Buckley's fiery exchange with Tony Jones during exit presser

The decision came as the Magpies had struggled to a 3-9 record over the opening 12 rounds of the season, amid a background of off-field turmoil for the club.

After the Magpies were heavily criticised over the off-season for dumping the likes of Adam Treloar and Jaidyn Stephenson for salary cap reasons, they were then dealt another blow when long-time club president Eddie McGuire stepped down.

His departure has precipitated a protracted in-house battle over the future of the club's board.

Buckley's departure after 10 seasons looms as the largest blow, with several high-profile AFL figures tipped to replace him.

Hawthorn coach Alistair Clarkson ruled out any suggestion he might defect from the ailing Hawks, publicly declaring he would remain with the club until at least the end of the 2022 season.

Former Fremantle and St Kilda coach Ross Lyon was also linked to the job - but unlike Clarkson, he has said he'd be willing to speak to the Magpies about taking over.

Lyon is currently involved in football media work and a property investment group, but would consider a coaching comeback almost two years after being sacked by the Dockers.

"They're one of the biggest clubs in the land, incredible tradition, enormous," Lyon said on Nine's Footy Classified when asked about his interest in the Collingwood job.

"If someone rang me from Collingwood and said, 'Can we talk to you?' Of course I would sit down and have a discussion.

"But I can't give you a flippant answer here."

Pressed further, Lyon added: "It needs serious consideration, there's lots of variables and they are a big, powerful club.

"But the spotlight is squarely on you.

"There's nowhere to hide in this town - you need to be eyes wide open and ready and prepared."

Nathan Buckley steps down as Collingwood coach

Buckley is bracing himself for an emotional send-off as he prepares for his final AFL match as Collingwood coach.

It will take place under unusual circumstances, with the Magpies to take on old rivals Melbourne at the SCG after the traditional Queen's Birthday fixture was moved because of Victoria's latest COVID-19 outbreak.

Collingwood (3-9) registered a stirring win away to Adelaide last week but will start rank outsiders against the ladder-leading Demons (11-1).

"To know that it's the last time that I do it here (at Collingwood) gives me pause for thought and it will bring up different emotions, I'm sure," Buckley said.

Nathan Buckley will coach his final game for the Magpies in the Queen's Birthday clash against Melbourne. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Nathan Buckley will coach his final game for the Magpies in the Queen's Birthday clash against Melbourne. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

"But I'm just excited now to have a real crack at this week and to see how we'll go on Monday.

"I'm not expecting the players are going to find another five per cent - I'm certainly hoping that they gave everything they had last week and the week before - and I'm not a big one for milestones.

"But I'm sure it will definitely be a game that will stand out to me and one that I'll reflect on, so if we can get the four points it will be one that's even better to reflect on."

The last three Collingwood-Melbourne Queen's Birthday meetings (2017-2019) have drawn crowds of more than 70,000 at the MCG.

The annual pre-match Big Freeze slide fundraiser - in support of Neale Daniher's FightMND charity - has become almost as big a drawcard as the fixture itself.

A comparitively low crowd is expected in Sydney but Buckley is hopeful he'll still be able to bid farewell to a sizeable number of Magpies fans.

"There will be Collingwood people that will have the opportunity to be up there," Buckley said.

"I don't think the fans and Collingwood people have ever missed an opportunity to show their gratitude to me.

"I've felt that throughout my time here in many different roles."

With AAP

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