AFL news: Nathan Buckley says Collingwood made a huge Brodie Grundy contract mistake

Brodie Grundy’s contract situation has proven a major and lasting issue for the Collingwood Football Club.

The ruckman signed a hefty seven-year contract with the Pies back in 2019 before being shipped to Melbourne three years later and now the Swans.

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Collingwood is still paying a significant portion of that original deal and former coach Nathan Buckley believes that mega contract never should have happened.

A dominant player and two-time best and fairest at the time, Grundy still should’ve been moved on instead of re-signed, according to Buckley.

“If Brodie had have moved, whether it would have been free agency or trade at the end of 2019, he would’ve been a dual Copeland Trophy winner, back-to-back, and it probably would’ve looked mad letting a player like Brodie go,” Buckley told SEN on Monday.

“But it was definitely the move that we should have made.

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it would have been better for the club and it would have been better for Brodie if you sort of move in a different direction.

“‘Brodes’ gets back to Adelaide, he’s happy at the Adelaide Crows, who knows what would have happened over that side and we definitely would have been in better shape.”

With the club under salary cap pressure, Buckley says the Pies ultimately found a way to make the deal work.

The Collingwood great also believes a number of figures need to take responsibility for that contract, including Grundy himself.

“Apparently we found a way to keep him (financially),” Buckley said. “Which has since proven to be a rod for the club’s back and for Brodie’s.

“I’m rapt that he’s (found another club), I think about it from the human side of it.

“Brodie has to accept (it), he put his hand up, his manager drove a hard bargain.

“He was playing awesome football, the best ruckman in the league with Max Gawn, All-Australian, and had proven himself as one of the hottest commodities in the game.

“But you’ve still got to weigh that up against everything else and the circumstances that you’re in, your TPP (Total Player Payments), your needs, where do rucks sit.

“Brodes has struggled through that last three years and he had basically been unwanted at Collingwood for the reasons of being part of the TPP that probably was easiest to shift and to change.”

Players such as Adam Treloar, Jaidyn Stephenson and James Aish were subsequently forced out of Collingwood in the wake of the Grundy deal.

Buckley said he regretted being the “frontman” of the move to push Treloar out of the club at the end of 2020 due to his high salary, which had hurt his relationship with the midfielder.

“What precipitated 12 months later with pushing Adam Treloar out, and even at the end of 2019, James Aish was encouraged to go to Fremantle,” Buckley said.

“There were some players that were happy who were asked to leave, and that’s really hard, that’s a tough position to be in.

“My regrets were probably taking so much accountability for being the frontman of that (Treloar) conversation.

“I would probably have either left that to (list manager) Ned Guy or (football boss) Geoff Walsh.

“I’d had an existing relationship with Ads and felt responsible for the position we were in.”

Buckley said he was surprised by Grundy’s move to the Demons, where he was “superfluous to them”, but thought the 29-year-old could play two seasons of his best football as Sydney’s new No. 1 ruckman.

– With NCA Newswire

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