New Roo Stephenson details messy Pies exit

Shayne Hope
·2-min read

Jaidyn Stephenson was "hurt" by the way he was pushed out the door at Collingwood and says he had to instigate the only contact he had with a senior club official regarding his AFL move.

The former Rising Star award winner endured a difficult 2020 season that ended with him becoming a victim of the Magpies' salary cap squeeze.

It led to a trade to North Melbourne, where Stephenson has signed a five-year contract.

The 21-year-old on Thursday said he was shocked when his manager told him days before the AFL trade period that he would likely be offloaded.

He said his only contact with a senior Collingwood official about his playing future was when he later called coach Nathan Buckley for clarification over his status and was told to pursue opportunities at rival clubs.

"I thought everything was going well but it wasn't until about three weeks ago I realised how ruthless this AFL business is," Stephenson told Trade Radio.

"I am a little bit hurt. I loved all the boys, the coaches, the support staff, they were all fantastic to me.

"I enjoyed being there, so being told almost in a way that you're not wanted, it does hurt."

Stephenson kicked 38 goals in his debut season but managed just 14 majors from as many matches in 2020 and admitted he struggled with aspects of hub life as the Magpies spent three months on the road.

Stephenson denied he felt let down by Buckley but said there "wasn't very clear reasoning" for his exit.

He is also at odds with parts of the coach's post-season assessment of his performance.

"He said he doesn't know if I've allowed myself to open up to the group, which I don't necessarily agree with," Stephenson told SEN.

"But if that's how he saw it, he's the coach and that's his (prerogative).

"I'll definitely be endearing myself to my new teammates and coaches.

"Hopefully I can put a better foot forward there if that's what he thought my problem was."

Despite limited contact with the Collingwood hierarchy, Stephenson said he had been inundated with messages of support from Magpies players.