June 21, 2024

Collingwood legend Nathan Buckley has added to the speculation surrounding the inaugural coaching position for the Tasmania Devils, who are set to join the AFL in 2028.

Though Buckley has not officially indicated any conversations with the Devils, he is considered one of the top candidates for the role due to his esteemed reputation in the game.

After stepping down from his senior coaching position at Collingwood in 2021, the Brownlow medallist transitioned to a media career and had previously dismissed a return to coaching.

However, on Fox Footy’s “On the Couch,” Buckley expressed an “interest” in the new club’s development.

“I have interest in what that organisation is going to look like and how it’s going to come together. If there’s 100 steps, I haven’t even taken step one to understand it,” Buckley responded to Hawthorn legend Jason Dunstall.

“I think it’s a very different proposition to the other 17 roles.”

Buckley confirmed that no one had contacted him about the position yet but did not completely rule out a return.

“Absolutely zero… the first I’d heard of it was reading it, and there hasn’t been any discussion since. I’m pretty sure that there wouldn’t be anything floated until probably Brendan (Gale)’s out of that role, and they start working out the next steps they’re going to take,” Buckley said.

“It’s something that I would like to explore and learn more about to understand if there’s a synergy that benefits the club,” Buckley stated.

Buckley first entered the AFL when he was signed by the Brisbane Bears ahead of the 1993 season. Playing in 20 games and earning the Rising Star award, the South Australian soon moved to Collingwood.

Over the next 14 seasons, Buckley became one of the game’s most renowned players. His accolades include a Brownlow Medal (2003), a Norm Smith Medal (2002), seven All-Australian selections (1996-2001, 2003), six Copeland Trophies (1994, 1996, 1998-2000, 2003), and serving as Collingwood’s captain from 1999 to 2007.

Despite his impressive resume, the elusive premiership remained out of reach.


As a player, Buckley lost the 2002 and 2003 grand finals to the dominant Brisbane team.

After retiring at the end of 2007 with 280 games under his belt, the right-footed player took a year off before rejoining Collingwood as a coach in 2010.

As an assistant coach, Buckley played a crucial role in helping Collingwood achieve premiership success. He took over from Michael Malthouse in 2012, but the club experienced a steady decline until a surprising turnaround in 2018, leading to another grand final appearance.

Despite Buckley’s efforts, the Magpies narrowly lost to West Coast by five points, leaving him still yearning for a premiership medallion.

Given Tasmania’s likely pursuit of an experienced coach to lead the club from 2028 onwards, Buckley appears to be an ideal candidate.

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