Nathan Buckley says Collingwood’s upset win over Melbourne was a “great way to finish” his tenure as the Magpies’ head coach.
- Buckley was coaching the Magpies for the final time in the wake of his decision to stand down
- He said the Magpies were “awesome” in their 17-point win over the Demons
- Magpies star Steele Sidebottom praised Buckley, describing him as a “caring person”
Buckley coached the Magpies for the final time on Monday, with his players marking the occasion with a stirring 17-point victory over the ladder-leading Demons at the SCG.
He had announced last Wednesday he was stepping away from the role after almost 10 full seasons in charge.
The Magpies led by five points at three-quarter time before stretching their advantage in the final term to chalk up their fourth win of the season.
Buckley said he took great pride in the Magpies’ performance, which left the Demons with just their second loss of their 2021 campaign.
“It was awesome,” he said.
“It reminds you why you get involved in footy. And to see all of the ingredients come together to put a performance like that together, it’s a great way to finish.
Buckley, who enjoyed a decorated playing career with Collingwood, will hand over the coaching reins to his assistant coach Robert Harvey, with the Magpies yet to decide who will guide the club in 2022.
His time as Magpies coach was highlighted by their appearance in the 2018 grand final where they lost by just five points to West Coast.
Buckley said he was leaving the role with no regrets.
“You live and you learn,” he said.
“One of my personal strengths is to always keep an open mind and open heart to more growth and more improvement.
“I’m so grateful for the people around the football club, the players and staff, I have learnt so much from them.
“They have challenged me, they have improved me, I’m a better person for my experiences at Collingwood.”
Magpies star Steele Sidebottom said he and his teammates were determined to send Buckley out a winner.
“I don’t think I’ve ever met a more caring person,” he told ABC Sport.
“At three-quarter time he kept it short and thanked all of us for the experience we’ve shared together.
Buckley said the players deserved the credit for the win over the Demons.
“There were some super efforts by a lot of players. I saw some young guys stand up and own the moment,” he said.
“As a coach it is everything you want to see.”