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Malthouse not ready to pass baton yet

By Adam Cooper and Guy Hand 23/07/2009 06:43:10 PM Comments (0)

Mick Malthouse has made it clear he's not ready to pass on Collingwood's AFL coaching reins soon to Nathan Buckley, indicating he could continue into his 60s.

In his most expansive offering about his future, 55-year-old Malthouse says he is unsure when his contract imbroglio will be resolved and admits the protracted talks are "starting to wear thin" on some at the Magpies.

Malthouse and Buckley, the former Collingwood captain considered the league's next coach-in-waiting, met for coffee on Monday to discuss working together.

But Malthouse was cagey on Thursday when asked if he favoured a succession plan.

"That's that part of it the club needs to look at, address with my management," he said.

But Malthouse, already the league's longest-serving coach, made it plain he was not ready to step away from doing what he began in 1984.

"I feel very, very good, I feel very comfortable in my job, I know I'm getting the best out of my players and getting the best out of myself," he said.

"Does that stay for one year, two years, three years, five years?

"I can't say that, but I'm not about to declare that it's going to be one or two years when it could be five or six years.

"It could be six months too."

Collingwood's challenge is satisfying their coach of the last decade while keeping their favourite son away from another club's clutches, as Buckley has been effectively offered the North Melbourne coaching job.

Buckley has also spoken with Richmond - the other club searching for a full-time coach - and Malthouse has also been linked with the Tigers should Collingwood not re-sign him.

Malthouse stressed his priority was to prevent the contract impasse disrupting Collingwood's run to the finals, which continues on Friday night against arch-rival Carlton.

But he admitted the saga was having an effect on some staff.

"I suppose it's probably starting to wear thin on a few blokes, but they see the funny side of it more so than if there is a serious side to it, so that's a good sign," he said.

Asked if he was one of those, Malthouse said: "I think things can be done when they need to be done."

Malthouse confirmed VFL coach Gavin Brown - also a former Collingwood captain - was one who was unsettled by speculation over Buckley possibly coaching the club's reserves next year.

Magpies president Eddie McGuire denied anyone was worried about their futures if they were linked with Malthouse, but hinted he was keen on implementing a transition plan.

"Maybe football's moving on and changing and maybe that's what we're trying to achieve at Collingwood, to get something a little bit more progressive and sustainable rather than what has happened in the past," McGuire told radio station SEN.

North want to get an answer from Buckley next week.

Meanwhile, Richmond caretaker coach Jade Rawlings is hopeful the Tigers' selection panel looks beyond his win-loss record when it begins assessing candidates.

"I don't think I'll be judged purely on wins and losses, more how the group's going," said Rawlings, who wants the full-time position and has coached the Tigers to one win, three losses and a draw.

"I've been really pleased with how they've taken on board the subtle changes I'm trying to make."

Other candidates for the Richmond job include assistant coaches Alan Richardson (Essendon), Leon Cameron (Western Bulldogs), Peter Sumich (West Coast), Damien Hardwick (Hawthorn) and Collingwood's Brad Scott and Mark Neeld.

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