McGuire reveals Buckley endorsement

14 May 2020 20:11:52 GMTPlus10

The endorsement of captain Scott Pendlebury went some way to keeping Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley in his job, according to club president Eddie McGuire.

McGuire said the club faced a difficult decision in 2017, after four consecutive seasons without a finals appearance.

Buckley, who took over in 2012 after being assistant to Mick Malthouse, ended up getting a two-year extension but only after Collingwood undertook a review.

McGuire said he had sought feedback from Pendlebury as part of the decision-making process.

Asked whether the Magpies had ever been close to sacking Buckey, who went on to guide them to the Grand Final in 2018, McGuire added: "It was a tough year, but it didn't ever get that far because I took a lot of advice from Scott Pendlebury.

"I asked him directly, 'What do you think?', and he said, 'No. He is the man'."

Buckley's legacy might have proved very different if the club had opted to fire him.

He had been their captain between 1999-2007 and was named in the Collingwood Team of the Century.

In 2002 he won the Norm Smith Medal as best player afield in the Grand Final, despite being on the losing side against Brisbane.

As a coach, he won 17 of his first 25 games in charge, for a 68 per cent win ratio, but that percentage dropped to 50 or lower in four consecutive seasons leading into the Magpies' club review.

The defeat in the 2018 Grand Final to West Coast was a tough one to take, given how close they had come to securing just a second premiership in 27 years.

But it was a vindication of the Magpies' decision to retain Buckley, whose team made the preliminary finals last year.

Asked why the club had waited until the end of the 2017 season to offer the coach the contract extension, McGuire said: "That was because we weren't going to make a rash decision.

"We wanted to go through; we had bigger things, Nathan was only one part of it. We went through the board, as you know, the whole thing."

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