Magpies skipper ‘numb’ after ‘shock’ Buckley exit

Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury admits coach Nathan Buckley’s “shock” exit left him feeling “numb” after it was revealed today the Magpies coach would step down following next Monday’s clash with the Demons.

Buckley next week will coach his 218th and final game for the club after nearly 10 seasons in charge. He played 260 games for Collingwood as a player where he became a seven-time All-Australian and the 2003 Brownlow Medal winner.

The veteran coach had remained unsigned beyond next year as Collingwood limped to a 3-9 start to the 2021 AFL season.

Pendlebury was confronted by reporters today shortly after Buckley’s announcement and revealed he was still coming to terms with the news.

“It’s a bit of a shock, you come in to train today and that happens. It’s definitely a shock and the first time in my career that I’ve ever been through something like this before. I feel almost a little bit numb,” Pendlebury said.

“(He) planned to have a bit of a chat with the leaders and then the timeline sped up and so (he told us) just as a full group. He spoke about (how he thinks) it is the best thing for the club, no person is bigger than the club and that it’s the right time for him to step away.

“He spoke about his gratitude for the place – he spent half his life here – and how excited he is by the future. And excited for the opportunity that he’s had as a player, as an assistant coach, as a coach and everything that he’s contributed to our club.”

Buckley said the decision came after months of “open discussions” with Collingwood GM of Football Graham Wright.

“It is a bit sad to understand that it’ll be coming to an end on Monday,” Buckley told reporters during a Zoom conference call on Wednesday morning.

“The discussions have been open. They’ve been really focused on what’s best for the club now and going forward. We haven’t performed the way we’d have liked to at this stage this season.

“I’ve had nine years at the helm after two years as an assistant, so I’ve had a fair crack at it. I’m really content with the decision that’s been reached.

“The conversations were largely around what’s best for the footy club and we’ve tried to remove the external noise.

“I think in the end, the last couple of weeks in conversations with Graham, it’s clear there was an appetite for change.”

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