There was one former colleague on Nathan Buckley’s mind on Saturday night after Collingwood beat West Coast to advance to the AFL semi-finals.
Buckley was in a jubilant mood following the Magpies’ one-point victory over the Eagles, shooting a cheeky text message to former recruiter Matt Rendell.
‘PATHETIC’: Uproar over Channel 7 star's joke about wife
Rendell, who was made redundant earlier this year when the AFL was forced to shut down amid the coronavirus crisis, blasted the Collingwood Football Club last week.
“This year has been all defence and it’s no secret that every one of their forward line players has gone backwards,” Rendell said on SEN radio.
“There’s not one of them that has improved.
“(Brodie) Grundy made a really good comment in 2018. Someone asked him ‘where’s the improvement come from, what’s happened’ and he said in this quote, which I pinned on my board for two years, that ‘we only talk about the positives now and we don’t talk about the negatives’.
“He saw that as the only change. Well, clearly they’ve gone back to the negatives again because the team is a shell of 2018.”
On Monday Rendell revealed the text message he received from Buckley in the aftermath of their win over West Coast.
“I’m sitting there and I’ve had a few wines by the end of the game,” he said.
“I got a text message from Bucks at half-past-11, saying ‘that was for you mate’ with a thumbs up.
“I said ‘thanks for that’ – and then gave him some more advice for this week against Geelong. I just can’t remember what it was after a few wines.
“I thought ‘he’s had that text ready to go’. He must’ve walked out of his press conference and sent it straight away.
“It was hilarious when I got that, I just had a laugh.”
Collingwood’s win over West Coast has set up a semi-final date with Geelong at the Gabba on Saturday night.
Buckley says Brodie Grundy not injured
Meanwhile, Buckley is adamant Grundy isn't carrying an injury despite benching the star ruckman for key moments against the Eagles.
Grundy was the premier ruckman of the competition last year and was duly rewarded with All-Australian honours, but question marks have been raised over his fitness this season after a drop in output.
In the one-point elimination final win over the Eagles, Grundy was benched at the start of the third and fourth quarters.
That left 10-gamer Darcy Cameron to battle the might of Nic Naitanui in the crucial centre bounces.
And when the Eagles kicked two late goals to close the gap to one point with just 77 seconds remaining in the match, Cameron was again the go-to man for the final centre bounce.
Buckley said his use of Cameron in significant moments was tactical, and was adamant that Grundy isn't carrying an injury.
“I've heard that, but he's fully fit and has been all year,” Buckley said.
“He's cherry ripe to attack next week and whatever is beyond that.
“Brodie is a team man. He is prepared to do whatever it takes for the team to come together and perform.
“He's always had high expectations of himself and elite performers will always set high bars for themselves. And that sometimes can be debilitating.
“But Brodie thrives on it.”
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.