Mick Malthouse has stirred the pot at Collingwood, saying he left Nathan Buckley with an AFL team on the verge of a mini-dynasty.
The Magpies’ last premiership coach said time would tell whether his successor had done the right thing in re-shaping their playing list.
Collingwood are in crisis after a disastrous 2-5 start to the season.
“I think when Nathan Buckley took that job over, that was his side. He had to do what he wanted to do with it,” Malthouse told SEN.
“I thought the club was on the verge of being a little mini-dynasty, if you like, because it was one of the youngest premiership sides in recent history.”
But Collingwood are in terrible form so far this season, Buckley’s fifth in charge, and injuries have meant the Magpies are struggling to field a settled side.
It inevitably means two questions – can Buckley coach? And was Collingwood’s succession plan, where Buckley took over from Malthouse, the right move?
On Wednesday, Malthouse also wondered aloud about Buckley’s decision to overhaul the playing list.
For a variety of reasons, Heath Shaw, Darren Jolly, Alan Didak, Dale Thomas, Sharrod Wellingham, Ben Johnson, Heritier Lumumba and Chris Dawes have all left Collingwood since the change of coaches.
“That’s each to his own and that’s the prerogative of the coach,” Malthouse said of Buckley’s decision to reshape the list.
“I thought we had a pretty good side – look, Heath Shaw won the best and fairest at Greater Western Sydney last year; Wellingham played in a grand final last year; Harry O’Brien (Lumumba) is on the up.
“So if you want players out, you put players out. You bring players in to make it your own side, and that’s your prerogative.
“Whether or not it’s the right thing, history will show whether it be right or it be wrong.”
Malthouse took over as Collingwood coach in 2000 and led them to the 2010 premiership, as well as the ’02, ’03 and ’11 grand finals.
In 2009, president Eddie McGuire brokered the tumultuous succession plan where Malthouse would hand over to Buckley, then one of his assistants, at the end of the 2011 season.
Malthouse was supposed to stay at the club in a coaching director role, but it became clear after his departure in late 2011 that it was not an amicable split.
The three-time premiership coach took over as Carlton coach a year later and it proved disastrous.
It is nearly a year since the Blues sacked Malthouse.