After posting this about Collingwood on the slide in 2012, the weekends news articles have also had me looking back to another cause for the slide... the easing out of Malthouse in favour of Buckley.
The peak of Collingwood's rank was after the away win against Fremantle on 26 August. Prior to this (for about half the season), there was ongoing speculation about the future of Malthouse, mostly geared toward his post-coaching role.
Come the morning of the 27 August...
A report that Collingwood's premiership coach Mick Malthouse won't be at the AFL club next year in any capacity is news to Magpies president Eddie McGuire.
The Herald Sun newspaper today claims Malthouse made up his mind several weeks ago to leave the club at the end of this season, but has kept his decision quiet to avoid any potential disruption to the Magpie's flag defence.
The Age: "McGuire denies Malthouse ready to walk out" (26 Aug 2011)
Which further highlights the significance of the round 24 loss v Geelong, and the start of the slide.
The above 6 matches represents a net loss of 59.6 pts.
Are the Pies going cold because of the new coaching style of Buckley, or a rift between the coach and players? Do the payers still harbour a love for their former mentor, one that cant be translated to a new coach 'by Presidential decree"?
AFL legend Wayne Carey added to the intrigue by fuelling rumours of a player-coach rift between Nathan Buckley and a group of Magpies.
"You hear these rumours all the time ... it is rife out there that a bunch of the players, let's say six or seven of them, don't get along with Buckley," Carey said on Triple M.
"I'm starting to think it might be more of an issue than what everyone thinks."
Buckley replaced Malthouse in a succession plan that McGuire engineered three years ago.
Fox Sports: "Pie fight: former Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse and president Eddie McGuire trade verbal shots" (16 Apr 2012)
And, of course, El Presidente was not backward in coming forward about his ward...
And McGuire dismissed as “rubbish” claims from North Melbourne great Wayne Carey that there is a player-coach rift at the Westpac Centre.
Courier Mail: "Mick Malthouse making Magpie enemies: Eddie McGuire" (16 Apr 2012)
It will be interesting to see the Collingwood response now they face a softer four weeks of games.
Speculation... its what sells papers (and allows bloggers to write as well ...mea culpa)