After a tough few years surrounding Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley’s future, no one endured it more than his family.
He opened up earlier in the week, discussing just how big of an impact the uncertainty of his career had on the Buckley clan.
When the Pies sealed an emphatic victory over Richmond, snatching an AFL grand final berth, the moment his son Jett jumped into his arms for a hug was just heartwarming.
Buckley recently said on Fox Footy that his sons would be told at school, “your dad’s going to get sacked”.
So the beautiful embrace between father and son summed up the situation perfectly.
“But to be able to have those conversations, to be able to create a relationship where you can have those conversations with the boys was probably what I was proud about, because they just didn’t sweep it under the carpet,” Buckley said.
“We just talked about it, this is happening and that might happen and this is going to dictate it.
“My youngest is very passionate when it comes to footy and when I’m told sitting in the stands and he wears his heart on his sleeve and he goes bloody hard.”
Buckley only focussed on the big AFL prize
Just over 12 months since the Magpies kept faith with coach Nathan Buckley and reappointed him, they are on the verge of their 16th flag.
Collingwood will join Essendon and Carlton with the most premierships if they win next Saturday’s grand final.
It would be the third-straight season where a club defies the odds to win the flag, following the drought-breaking triumphs by the Western Bulldogs and Richmond.
Collingwood’s achievement is already remarkable, given this is their first finals series since 2013.
The Pies not only pulled off a massive upset in Friday night’s preliminary final, but their win over reigning premiers Richmond was a domination.
Collingwood led by 53 points in the second quarter and then held off Richmond’s second-half counter attack for a 39-point win.
Coach Nathan Buckley quickly re-focused after the game, saying they must now finish the job.
“We’re not done yet, we’ve got another game to win,” he said.
“We’ve really been strong on exploring ourselves, finding out what we’re capable of, and we still don’t know.
“We want to go and do that.”
Buckley is looking forward to grand final week and said the Magpies would stay focused.
“You’re getting to the pointy end, but we have a job to do,” he said.
“There will be a whole heap of palaver that takes place outside of the game during the week.
“We’ll relax, we’ll embrace it and we’ll share it with each other, we’ll have a laugh.
“Don’t worry – we’ve got a job to do and we’re really looking forward to that challenge.”
Buckley said Jeremy Howe (ankle) and Jordan De Goey (leg) would be ready for the grand final.
He heaped praise on midfielder Steele Sidebottom, who continued his outstanding finals series with a 41-possession game.
“He’s played three really good games, hasn’t he … games where he’s impacted not just with his weight of possessions, but with his decision making, his capacity to make the smart decision at the right time,” Buckley said.
“It’s not just with ball in hand, either.
“He’s in rare form.”
Sidebottom and American Mason Cox led the way in the second term as Collingwood tore the game apart.
Buckley said some of the football Collingwood played in the second quarter was close to their best.