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Buckley to take charge for Crows match

By Roger Vaughan 20/02/2010 03:50:49 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood's AFL pre-season coaching rotation has added significance next weekend when Nathan Buckley is in charge.

Buckley will coach the team for their NAB Challenge match against Adelaide in Alice Springs.

Mick Malthouse likes his assistants to take turns coaching the team during the pre-season and Gavin Brown had that role for Friday night's one-point NAB Cup loss to St Kilda at Etihad Stadium.

Now it is Buckley's turn, the first time he has been in charge of a senior team.

The Magpies took the radical step last year of setting up a long-term succession plan that involves Malthouse and Buckley.

Malthouse will be in charge at Collingwood until the end of next year and then become their director of coaching, stepping aside for Buckley.

Until late 2011, Buckley will learn the trade as one of Malthouse's assistants.

"It will be a sign, I suppose, of things to come down the line," Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell said on Saturday.

"It's hard, you know he (Buckley) is going to be an outstanding coach when his time comes and he's doing a great job with the forwards at the moment.

"But it's all under Mick's game plan now, so I'm sure it will be a lot different in a couple of years' time when he takes over."

Collingwood came from 43 points down in the third quarter to take the lead late in the match against the Saints.

But with less than a minute left, Adam Schneider somehow found a gaping hole in Collingwood's defence and took an easy mark.

His goal proved the match winner and the glaring error has prompted much analysis at Collingwood.

"It's definitely just communication among everyone down there, there's no point going after one person," said Maxwell, one of Collingwood's top defenders.

"Everyone made the mistake by not picking him up, we shouldn't have let that happen.

"But I'd rather it happen in a NAB Cup game than when we're playing for four points - it's a tough lesson to learn, I'm happy we've learnt it now."

Apart from the second-half comeback, the other pleasing aspect of the match for the Magpies was the performances of their recruits.

Luke Ball coped well with the high-profile debut against his old club, while ruckman Darren Jolly kicked two goals and Simon Buckley worked hard through the midfield.

The Collingwood players clearly made a point of rushing to Ball when he kicked the first goal of the final term.

"The boys were just appreciative of what he's been through and just showing how important he is to our team now," Maxwell said of the team's reaction to the goal.

"He was really good, Luke, we're just really impressed with the way he goes about it, ever since he's come to the club.

"We knew that when we drafted him, he's a very professional guy - he was captain and an All-Australian.

"Just that hardness, that element in tight that he adds, has been outstanding for us."

Another impressive performance came from tall utility Leigh Brown, who kicked four goals.

Josh Fraser, Shane O'Bree and Jack Anthony are all strong chances to return to the team for the Adelaide match.

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