A week after calls for Collingwood to come out in support of Nathan Buckley, new Pies president Mark Korda has weighed in on the coach’s contract situation.
But those words won’t fill Buckley with confidence about extending his 10-year reign in charge when his contract expires at the end of the season.
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The club legend is under pressure as his team sits in 16th, having slumped to 1-4. A disastrous trade period meant the Magpies were always facing an uphill battle in 2021 and Buckley is under the pump to turn things around.
Despite guiding Collingwood to within a kick of the premiership in 2018, a preliminary final in 2019 and the second week of last year’s finals series, Korda wouldn’t guarantee Buckley’s future and said the Pies will do what’s best for the club when it comes to his contract.
“That contract is up, and we’ll do whatever is in the best interests of the Collingwood Football Club,” Korda told Gerard Whateley on SEN.
“But Nathan’s the coach now and those discussions will continue with the CEO and (GM of Football) Graham Wright and whatever is in the best interests of the Collingwood Football Club will transpire.
“We know that the contract has to be renewed this year, so Graham Wright will manage that process and we’ll rely on Graham’s expertise.
“Nathan’s a seriously competent and passionate person and a man of great integrity and everyone will put the interests of the Collingwood Football Club first.
“I think Nathan is fantastic … we’re going to do the process properly. We’re going to do what’s in the best interests of everybody.”
Following a bombshell report earlier this month about player unrest at Collingwood towards Buckley — before Korda had been officially unveiled as president — footy journalist Mark Robinson said we were seeing the “start of the end” of the coach’s decade-long rule.
Robinson was also puzzled why none of the Collingwood powerbrokers had publicly backed the coach as speculation swirled about his future.
Will Buckley be in charge next year?Source:Getty Images
“It seems to me at the moment that Nathan Buckley is on his own island. Where’s any of the public support from people in positions of power at that club?” Robinson said.
“The fight over who’s (the next) president, park that — come out and say something, Mark Korda and Peter Murphy. I think there might be internal struggles … but someone say something.
“I reckon a lot of them (board members) in their heart know whether Buckley is the man to rebuild this club. I honestly believe they do.”
Buckley prepared to stand down
Earlier this year Buckley said in a wide-ranging interview he would be prepared to stand down as Collingwood coach at the end of the year if the Magpies decided it was best for the club to move in a new direction.
“Those conversations take place consistently and it’s a really easy one because whatever’s best for the football club will occur,” Buckley told afl.com.au.
“Our performances this year, no doubt, are going to have a say on what is best for the club going forward.
“I don’t feel like I have to be the senior coach going forward if that’s the best thing for the club and I feel that I can still impact and help the club move towards contending consistently and winning flags well then I’ll put my hand up.
“And if the club felt it was better to go in another direction then I would understand that. That conversation will be held in good faith and it’s not something that we’ll be addressing until later in the year.”
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