AFL grand final: Nathan Buckley reveals emotions after Collingwood victory

Collingwood legend and former coach Nathan Buckley revealed he was “openly sobbing” in the stands at the MCG after the Magpies’ premiership win on Saturday five years after so many of those players suffered grand final heartbreak.

Buckley was in charge of the Pies when they lost by five points in 2018, with nine players from the team fronting up against the Brisbane Lions for redemption.

Sitting with 2010 premiership captain Nick Maxwell, Buckley said the rollercoaster contest that resulted in a staggering four-point win made for an “epic” day

“I had things coming up that I didn’t realise were there. I was openly sobbing at the final siren,” Buckley said on Monday.

“I had my head down trying to work it all out, Maxy and I were hugging and then ‘Pebs’ (Anthony Rocca) come across and he whispered in my ear, ‘We got one back’.

“You don’t get them back, but there was a little bit of that, a little bit of poor bugger me that came into it. But the other part is looking at guys like Jeremy Howe, Brayden Maynard, obviously Steele (Sidebottom) and ‘Pendles’ (Scott Pendlebury) have won their second one, Brody Mihocek, Jamie Elliott.

“That’s what the pinnacle, pivotal moments bring out, is the highs and the lows, the good and the bad, the excitement, the trials and the tribulations and it’s got it all.

“It was a great day for it.”

Buckley was full of praise for the man who replaced him as coach after he quit in 2021, lauding what Craig McRae had done with the team that won three finals in 2023 by a combined 12 points.

“In the last couple of years in particular, the ride that Craig McRae and the club have taken us on has been huge,” Buckley told SEN.

“I have a fairly unique view of all of that given my experiences at the club. The ride on Saturday was as emotional as I’ve ever been a part of.

“There were things coming out of me that I didn’t know were in there, shared with a couple of my old teammates and old legends of the club in a little Collingwood enclave.

“This one was epic. The day made it beautiful. It was fast football, highly skilled, you got rewarded for your great offensive play, you got rewarded for great defensive play. It wasn’t a huge tackling game – 73 to 53 – which is not over the top, so it was a good balance of inside crunch and hardness and outside skill.

“I thought that’s where the beauty of this game was.”

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