Veteran AFL columnist Caroline Wilson says she has “sympathy” for Collingwood president Eddie McGuire after the club found itself in the headlines for the wrong reasons once again.
Just days after McGuire’s strong stance on the the individuals from Hawthorn, Richmond, North Melbourne and Carlton who caused the clubs to be fined for COVID-19 breaches, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley was involved in his own breach.
Despite Buckley and senior assistant Brenton Sanderson vowing to pay the non-suspended portion of the AFL’s fine to Collingwood ($25,000), Wilson said the coach should apologise to McGuire, who has copped the brunt of the backlash.
“I have enormous sympathy for Eddie McGuire on this one,” she told Nine’s Footy Classified.
“I didn’t like (McGuire’s) response to the Steele Sidebottom issue. I thought he embarrassed his club and made it worse for his club. In this one, I agree with everything he’s said.
“I think the AFL should have been tougher and I think Nathan Buckley owes him an apology.
“Nathan has actually let his whole club down, he’s let his players down and he’s really let his president down.
“He’s gone soft on Nathan. He did say from now on they should be sent home, and he’s rescinded that with Nathan, but people would beg the question why Nathan got such a relatively limp fine.”
Buckley’s COVID-19 breach comes in a year littered with off-field controversies for the Magpies, with vice-captain Steele Sidebottom suspended for four matches earlier on in the year, while Jordan de Goey was also charged on indecent assault.
According to Wilson, the Buckley episode is yet another example of Collingwood having disciplinary issues.
“Jake Niall wrote a really interesting column in The Age today saying that Collingwood has a discipline problem, and frankly they do, you can’t look past it,” she said.
“I know that people make mistakes and I know that this is a terrible time and everyone is struggling and making mistakes, but it staggers me that the coach and the senior assistant would not have checked something as simple as that, to go and play tennis with someone else.”