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"I need to be better": Buckley responds to COVID-19 protocol breach


Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has spoken publicly for the first time since he and assistant coach Brenton Sanderson broke COVID-19 protocols.

The club were fined $50,000 ($25,000 suspended) on Saturday after both Buckley and Sanderson played tennis with Australian Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik in Perth, who isn’t part of the club’s ‘bubble’.

Buckley said he let his club down and admitted it was a “crystal clear” breach of the strict protocols players, coaches and officials are currently abiding by to ensure the 2020 season is able to be completed.

“You don’t need the extra attention especially when it’s away from your primary endeavour which is to be as good as a football team as we can be,” Buckley told reporters post-match.

“We let the club down in that regard by a miscommunication and not being diligent enough with our understanding of what we could and couldn’t do.

“As soon as we came back into the team environment, we had a few conversations and realised we needed to address it.

“It was crystal clear where you look back at it, there’s been 4-5 iterations of what is allowed in hubs and what we’re in at the moment is a hotel and not technically a hub…clearly WA is not a COVID risk but the AFL protocols are about keeping it as consistent as possible for all clubs.

“Protocols have changed and evolved and there’s been almost weekly updates…I’m not making an excuse but that’s the reality clubs are facing and there’s probably some of the slip up that may have stemmed from that but I need to be better and we need to be better."

Collingwood went down to Fremantle by 12 points on Sunday night and Buckley is intent on moving on ahead of their clash against Sydney on the Gold Coast next Thursday night.

“I just had a really expensive game of tennis during the week,” Buckley said.

“We all understand there were only a handful of COVID cases currently in WA and the health risk isn’t a concern but I had the responsibility to adhere to the rules and regulations of the AFL and in 2020 hub regulations are part of the rules and regulations.

“Sando and I have copped a fair fine for that but we move quickly to the game, we didn’t perform tonight and we’ve got work to do.

“Looking back isn’t going to help us, we’ve got to get going.”


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