Buckley ready for emotional SCG farewell

·2-min read

Nathan 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.

"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.

"On the flipside, I'm the one that feels like I've got the long end of the stick in this relationship and I'm very grateful for it.

"At some stage there will be an opportunity to thank the fans ... I hope that I've been able to do that with my actions along the way also."

Collingwood CEO Mark Anderson said the club will organise an "appropriate farewell" for Buckley with members and supporters at a later date.

Anderson described former Magpies captain Buckley as a "towering figure" and "legend" of the club after he spent most of the last 27 years in black and white.

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