Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley says his relationship with Adam Treloar is strained after the club pushed the midfielder out amid an ugly break-up.
Treloar will play for the Western Bulldogs in 2021 after the Magpies cut the 27-year-old loose because they needed to relieve pressure on their salary cap.
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In an emotional and wide-ranging interview with Gerard Whateley on SEN, Buckley addressed several hot topics arising from Collingwood’s nightmare Trade Period, which saw it lose four players without receiving much in return.
Buckley confirmed the decision of Treloar’s fiancee Kim Ravaillion to continue her professional netball career in Queensland next year was a “catalyst” for making the call to move Treloar on, but defended the club’s right to assess how the footy star’s family situation would affect his on-field performance.
The coach also regrets a breakdown in communication with Treloar as he acknowledged the mistakes made in his conversations with the player preceding their “break-up”.
BUCKLEY’S REGRET OVER COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN
Buckley hit out on Twitter when a report emerged earlier this month saying he had told Treloar in a phone call senior players no longer wanted him at the club. The coach said the “constant rumour and innuendo is disrespectful to Adam, the club and our supporters”.
However, Treloar confirmed in a press conference last week he was told “in no uncertain way” by the coach his teammates had gone cold on him.
Buckley told Whateley he “can understand how Adam has perceived it that way” but clarified the message he tried to get across. Buckley said he meant to convey to Treloar some issues Collingwood insiders had with how he played on the field, while the 27-year-old took the message as criticism of him as a person.
Feedback which related to “on-field connection” that was communicated to Treloar via post-season reviews became mixed up with a belief his teammates didn’t trust him, Buckley said.
“There’s clearly something I could have done better in those conversations with Adam,” Buckley told SEN on Monday.
“It was something that he understood and potentially those two things put together were perceived as, ‘Your teammates don’t support you or don’t want you at the football club’,” Buckley said.
“Clearly there’s something in my communication that has failed there for Adam to feel that.
“I understand entirely where it’s come from and I needed to be better in that regard.
“My personal relationship with him is important to me … it’s strained at the moment and the dust is yet to settle on that.”
Buckley added it’s “nearly impossible” for him to have list management discussions with players because he’s “too close to them” on a personal level, but with Treloar “it was clearly something I needed to front up and address”.
NETBALL STAR’S ROLE IN TRELOAR’S EXIT
Treloar might still be in black and white if Ravaillion wasn’t playing netball in Queensland.Source:Getty Images
Collingwood list boss Ned Guy said last week Collingwood wouldn’t have considered getting rid of Treloar if his fiancee hadn’t signed to play netball in Queensland next year.
Buckley agreed, saying “there’s no doubt that was a catalyst in some shape or form”. And while he admitted the club has no place making judgments on people’s personal lives, he believes Collingwood needed to at least consider how living in a different state to his partner and young daughter would affect Treloar in a football sense.
“It’s not our job to run Adam’s life,” Buckley told Whateley. “Adam and Kim and their family are entitled to live their lives as they see fit but it is our responsibility to work out on a professional level how that might affect Adam’s ability to do his job, which is to play football and contribute to the club.
“We are within our rights to have an assessment of that given our knowledge of Adam and the experiences that we’ve shared since he came to the club.
“We’re not in a position to tell someone how to live their life … (but) I also needed to be really clear from a club perspective that this is the road we need to take.”
WHY THE SILENT TREATMENT?
Much of the criticism around Collingwood has centred on why the club remained silent during the Trade Period, not informing fans and members about what decisions were being made and why.
Clearly, the salary cap is an issue and Buckley admitted as much. That’s why the Magpies shaved roughly $2 million off their cap by getting rid of Treloar, Jaidyn Stephenson, Tom Phillips and Atu Bosenavulagi.
Buckley said Collingwood wasn’t transparent about its salary cap woes because the club didn’t think that would help its bargaining position — but ultimately it failed anyway because the Pies didn’t get market value for the players it pushed out.
“We didn’t get a great result anyway, let’s be clear with that, but I don’t know if you’re going to get a better result if you come out and say, ‘We need to adjust our salary cap’,” Buckley said.
“I don’t think you’re going to get a better outcome than we got. I think it would be even worse.
“We, probably foolishly, tried to maintain some bargaining position on the trade table by shutting our mouths and that has caused some angst on the other side.”
Collingwood has a painful road ahead.Source:Getty Images
‘BRUTAL’ SAGA TAKES A HEAVY TOLL
Buckley has been hurt by being forced to wave goodbye to contracted players and revealed the “brutal” off-season saga has taken a heavy personal toll.
However, he is adamant the decisions Collingwood have made are the right ones to ensure the long-term success of the club.
“I knew we weren’t going to get through this without trauma, we weren’t going to get through this without pain,” Buckley said.
“As soon as we determined that this is the way we’re going to go, we knew it wasn’t going to be pretty.
“This is brutal, this was always going to be hurtful, this was always going to be a shock, this was always going to cause distress.
“I didn’t feel entirely great about it … (but) we feel we’ve made these decisions for the betterment in the short, medium and long term.
“We’ve had to be quite brutal … to have us move into the future without our hands tied behind our back.
“There’s some wounding that’s happened on the personal side.
“I sat here and it was tough. I didn’t like how I felt, I didn’t like how it felt.”
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