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Buckley's chance as Pies extend contract

Football

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has signed a 12-month contract extension until the end of the 2017 AFL season.

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Magpies president Eddie McGuire confirmed at last night’s season launch that they had agreed to terms.

Buckley, due to come off contract at the end of this season, will enter the 2016 campaign with his coaching future assured.

There had been speculation for several weeks that Buckley was going to sign a new deal.

“He’s not going to be sacked,” McGuire joked.

He also said in a speech at the launch that Buckley embodied the Collingwood spirit.

“We asked Nathan to rebuild our club in the past few years and rebuild it he has,” the AFL website reported McGuire as saying.

Buckley said the club was heading in the right direction.

“I genuinely believe we are building something really special in this young group and I think the string of recent player re-signings has illustrated that they share that belief,” Buckley said.

“Together, we head into the 2016 season with the club’s backing and now it’s up to us to repay the faith by producing what we know this side is capable of.”

Buckley took over as senior coach from Mick Malthouse at the end of the 2011 season, thanks to the deal that McGuire brokered.

Malthouse soon fell out with the Magpies and left.

Under Buckley, Collingwood have missed the past two finals series. He has coached the Magpies to 51 wins from his 88 matches in charge.

But they have recruited solidly and there are big expectations for a return to the top eight this season.

Last week, Brisbane also announced at their season launch that coach Justin Leppitsch had signed a one-year extension that would take him through to the end of next season.

And Richmond are on the verge of sealing a new two-year deal for Damien Hardwick.

It means all the senior coaches on contracts have agreements that go beyond 2016.

The only exception is new Carlton coach Brendon Bolton, who is on the club’s staff rather than having a contract.

Three famous Magpies were inducted into the club’s hall of fame last night – Gavin Crosisca and brothers Frank and Len Murphy.

For more than a decade, Crosisca was among Collingwood’s most reliable players, forging a reputation as one of Leigh Matthews’ trusted lieutenants throughout the ’80s and ’90s.

The Murphy brothers won seven flags between them and became one of just six sets of brothers to have played together in a premiership side.

-AAP

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