Jaidyn Stephenson says being encouraged to seek a trade by Collingwood ‘hurt’ after agreeing to join North Melbourne as the AFL’s trade period draws to a close.
The 21-year-old, who won the league’s rising star award in 2018 but fell somewhat out of favour this season, ultimately becoming a victim of the Magpies’ desire to reduce the amount of salary paid in 2021.
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While rumours had swirled about Collingwood looking for a suitable trade for Stephenson, the 21-year-old was less than impressed with how the club went about their decision to move on if his interview with SEN’s Bob and Andy is anything to go by.
Stephenson said he was ‘shocked’ by the decision to trade him, revealing tough conversations he’d had with coach Nathan Buckley after not hearing from the club in more than a week.
“It’s been a whirlwind of a week. Not really sure how it has gone down but I’m just thankful of the opportunity North Melbourne has given me,” he said.
“A couple of days before the trade period my manager mentioned I might be traded. It was a bit of a shock at the time but I have now got my head around it.
“I wanted to stay. I loved my time at the club and the relationships I built but I’m sure I can do that at North Melbourne.”
Jaidyn Stephenson reveals tough conversation with Nathan Buckley
Later in the interview, Stephenson said he had taken it upon himself to contact Buckley after not hearing from anyone at Collingwood in over a week.
He said Buckley had encouraged him to seek a suitable trade, and that Buckley believes he hadn’t ‘opened up to the group’ enough during his time with the Magpies.
“I actually rang Bucks and asked what was happening. He said for me to pursue a trade as heavily as I can,” he said.
“Bucks said I hadn’t opened up to the group enough which I didn’t really agree with.
“He also said there was some things he didn’t like as a footballer which is fair enough because I didn’t have a great year.
“That phone call I made to the Bucks was the only time I spoke to anyone in the heirarchy at Collingwood. I did have a lot of messages from the players.”
Collingwood have also been criticised over rumoured efforts to trade midfielder Adam Treloar, who signed a contract extension at the end of last season but is believed to be on the outer.
Treloar was traded at the last minute to the Western Bulldogs, and Stephenson later said on AFL trade Radio that it hurt to learn the club was looking to move on.
“I was obviously very happy playing at Collingwood,” he said.
“I enjoyed being there, so to be told in a way that you’re not wanted, it does hurt.”
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