Buckley’s re-signing cause for optimism
As one-eyed as any Collingwood supporter, the re-signing of coach Nathan Buckley gets me excited for Collingwood’s future.
Some of you may think this is plain stupid, considering Collingwood’s ladder position has declined every year since he took over in 2012 and this year was the only season the win-loss record had improved (albeit by a game).
And yes, I have had my doubts as well. But to help my point I will use Richmond as a case study.
How can a team such as the Tigers — who have the reputation of finishing ninth — help my cause, I hear you ask. And I am glad you did! As it was on April 9 last year, after what was described as a ‘‘sluggish’’ start to the season, Tigers coach Damien Hardwick said ‘‘we might have to take a little half step back to go two steps forward, but I’m very confident we will take the two steps forward’’.
At the time, he was heavily criticised for these comments and as the Tigers fell to 13th (where Collingwood finished this year), there were many calls for Hardwick to lose his job, despite being given a two-year extension only months earlier.
But a review, similar to that being completed at the Pies, resulted in many of Hardwick’s assistants leaving the club and now, with the Tiger Army on the pounce and just three wins away from their first premiership since 1980, Hardwick’s comments ring true.
While Richmond had played in three consecutive finals series in the lead-up to Hardwick being resigned, I believe there is still some resemblance between the Tigers and my Magpies.
With a percentage of 99 showing Collingwood’s competitiveness this year and the average margin of the team’s 12 losses being just 19 points, this season showed me that things were starting to turn for the better — the first time I have felt this since Bucks has taken charge.
With rumours around Bucks’ future put to rest and the players clearly behind their coach, I see a light at the end of the tunnel that will make any supporter of the 17 other teams begin to cringe.
Go Pies! ● Rodney Woods is a Country News journalist.