'Stand down': Astonishing call after AFL coach's virus breach

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley is pictured wearing a face mask.
Nathan Buckley landed himself in hot water, after playing tennis with guests from outside the AFL's hub - including former Aussie champion Alicia Molik. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Veteran AFL reporter Damian Barrett has suggested Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley should ‘consider standing down’ from coaching the Magpies against Fremantle on Sunday afternoon.

Buckley and assistant coach Brenton Sanderson cost the club a $50,000 fine, half of it suspended, after the pair played tennis with two people from outside the league’s hub - one of whom was former Australian champion Alicia Molik.

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Collingwood self-reported the breach and Buckley and Sanderson have publicly offered to pay the fine on the club’s behalf, after president Eddie McGuire suggested the day before that individuals who break the rules should be fined as opposed to clubs.

“I honestly believe he should consider standing down from coaching his team tonight against the Dockers in Perth,” Barrett said on Channel 9’s Sunday Footy Show.

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“He’s been quarantined away from the football club anyway while he’s dealing with a test that had to be taken because he played with someone outside of the confines of his football club.

“You line up the transgression with what his own president Eddie McGuire said, basically on the day of the infringement when it came to Buckley and Sanderson playing tennis.”

Barrett said it was particularly hypocritical for McGuire to make broad claims about what should happen to quarantine rule-breakers, including suggesting they be sent home from the AFL hub, when the Magpies were not immune from such infractions.

It’s not the first time this season McGuire has been accused of having double-standards, after his staunch defence of midfielder Steele Sidebottom after he broke strict lockdown rules and was found drunk in the street by police.

Virus breach messaging ‘not getting through’

Barrett said the latest breach of the AFL’s strict hub rules, which followed four other clubs being fined for various infractions on Friday, meant the seriousness of the situation clearly wasn’t sinking in among the broader AFL fraternity.

“So you just insert Nathan Buckley and Brenton Sanderson into what Eddie said there and we’re clear now on what Eddie thinks should happen to such a situation,” Barrett added.

Damian Barrett is pictured speaking during Channel 9's Sunday Footy Show.
Veteran AFL reporter Damian Barrett says Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley should stand down for Sunday's clash against Fremantle after breaching coronavirus restrictions set out by the AFL. Picture: Channel Nine/Sunday Footy Show

“The apologies are fine and look Nathan Buckley is a really good person and his apology was genuine don’t get me wrong, but the messaging isn’t getting through.

“That’s the fifth club that’s done something in the past week which is putting in jeopardy the entire AFL season.

“I think sending the strongest message would come in the form of consideration at least to not coaching tonight.”