Nathan Buckley has made a surprising revelation about former Collingwood boss Eddie McGuire as the ex-coach’s career heads in a new direction.
Nathan Buckley has confessed he hasn’t spoken to Eddie McGuire since he stepped down as Collingwood coach last June.
McGuire resigned as Collingwood president in early 2021 following the release of the ‘Do Better’ racism report and Buckley quit as Magpies coach midway through last year’s AFL season, marking a huge changing of the guard at the club.
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Buckley was either a player or coach in some capacity during McGuire’s more than two decades-long stint as Collingwood boss, which began in 1998.
But the 49-year-old has revealed he hasn’t spoken to McGuire face-to-face since he quit as coach nine months ago.
Buckley has joined Fox Footy for the 2022 AFL season as an expert commentator and panellist on the new Saturday night entertainment show Best on Ground.
He opened up on why he chose Fox Footy over Channel 7, his reasoning for snubbing an offer to appear on SAS Australia and his expectations for Collingwood this year in a wide-ranging interview with news.com.au at Fox Footy’s season launch.
Have you been in touch with Eddie McGuire since you left Collingwood?
“No, we haven’t had the last supper yet. We’ve texted a few times but he’s a busy man and I’ve been scarce.
“I’ve dropped off the radar. We’ll find each other. It’ll be great to catch up with him for a wine or two.”
How are you approaching the media gig with Fox Footy?
“I’m pretty relaxed about it. I’m open minded. I’ll see what comes of it and I’ll accept the roles and responsibilities as they’re sort of handed over with the broadcasting, or the show, or even with the radio stuff.
“I’ve enjoyed it. I want to enjoy it when I’m doing it. It’s been a bit of fun. I’m sure it’ll build throughout the year.”
What will your roles on Fox Footy be?
“I’ll definitely do Best on Groundthe show on the Saturday night and I’ll do some games. I’m pretty sure I’ll get some Collingwood games early in the season because there will be a bit of an attraction to see what my comments are around some of the guys that are running around. I’m ready for that and looking forward to it.
“I’m working with some great operators, some people who have been doing this for longer than I have. Like anything you’ve got to watch and learn and take little bits of how they go about it if you want to become the best version of yourself. There’s definitely some work that needs to be done as well. The practice games, I watched a fair bit of that last week and looking forward to the pre-season rounds this weekend and then before you know it we’re going to be into the season. “There’s going to be some more exposed form and opportunities to pick up the flow of games and talk about that.”
What’s it been like doing breakfast radio with Garry Lyon?
“It’s actually all right. Three hours felt like three minutes to be honest. It went really quick. Garry’s a great operator. I know him really well. It was a lot of fun to be honest. I’m looking forward to where that goes throughout the year”
Are you nervous about commentating Collingwood games, specifically players you’ve coached?
“Nah not really. I know in some shape or form people will be more interested in that than if I was talking about GWS. But no, I’ve got a relationship with those guys. I know them pretty well so I’m probably going to be able to a little more perceptive with what is happening with them in different scenarios, individuals within the team in different scenarios.
“That might mean I might be able to provide a bit more perspective in the short term around what’s happening on the field with those boys. I’ve been coaching against a lot of the other teams and players so I back my capacity to pick up stuff there as well.”
What will your commentary style be like?
“Look, one thing I don’t want to be is too judgmental. I think we can actually broadcast and celebrate what’s going on. I think there can be far more positivity around what we’re seeing on the field and less judgment.
“Whether it’s Collingwood or anyone else, I plan to come at it from that perspective. If we can find what’s working and what’s looking good and the opportunity in things, then I will have done my job.
“I just didn’t absorb the media in the last five years so I’ve got a bit of work to do to get back up to speed.”
Why did you choose to work join Fox Footy instead of Channel 7?
“I think in the end it was how everything fit. Obviously (I’m a) Celebrity was an opportunity that came up and it wasn’t a line to Fox but they probably fit in more contractually.
“With Seven, there was an offer to go on SAS so when I look at all of that, then from a timetabling perspective – because my priority is being as available as I can with my boys over the next couple of years – I think that one (Fox Footy) just fit better for me.
“I’ve got a healthy respect for Fox and the progressive nature of their broadcasting and already, just stepping in the building, it’s a really good feel about the way they go about it.
“I’ve had the opportunities to be on AFL360 over the last couple of years so to know a few of the people that are operating in that space was probably an attraction as well.”
Why did you choose to go on I’m a Celebrity instead of SAS?
“I was trying to work out which one I was going to do and I asked my young fella to give me a run down of it.
“He basically said, ‘SAS will try and break you down and have you talk about things you don’t want to talk about and Celebrity will try and break you down by making you eat things you don’t want to eat’. I said, ‘Which one do you reckon I should do?’.
“He said Celebrity and I said, ‘Well OK, let’s do that’. This was a 13-year-old that had it all sorted and he was right.“
How do you think Collingwood will go this season?
“I wouldn’t put a ceiling on anyone, whether it’s a team I’ve been involved with or not. I think their best is going to be really good. How often they can produce it is going to be a product of getting some continuity with their most experienced players on the park as often as they possibly can.
“I think Collingwood’s best 22 is a bloody good side and it’s going to be pretty hard to beat. So it’s a matter of how often they can get that on the park and how quickly they come together under the plan that Craig (McRae) is trying to implement.
“How many games do (Jeremy) Howe and Darcy (Moore) play together down back because they actually haven’t played a lot of footy together. One of is great but two of them together is even better.
“Even Pendles (Scott Pendlebury) going back, (Brayden) Maynard, (Jack) Crisp – it’s a pretty good backline. There’s a lot to build from and I think if they can find some momentum they can be pretty good.”
Can Collingwood make the top eight?
“Yeah, absolutely. I don’t think there’s many sides that can’t. I mean I don’t think they were a 17th placed side, that’s where Collingwood finished last year. But they’re a much better side than that. I think that they’d be pretty confident about playing finals.”