A mid-winter escape to the Gold Coast has extra meaning for Nathan Buckley as speculation ramps up about his AFL future.
The Suns will host Collingwood this Saturday and the Magpies coach will appreciate the trip for a lot more than just the weather.
Whatever happens at Metricon Stadium, the away match will give Buckley and his team a couple of days respite from the intensity of the game’s Melbourne heartland.
The Magpies have lost their past four matches and are languishing in 15th place with a 5-10 record, their finals chances shot.
Buckley felt that Saturday’s loss to arch rivals Essendon was a tipping point for his underperforming team.
“The job now is to spend the next 48 hours having a look at how we can possibly refresh, energise, change up a few things, re-frame and give the players something to achieve over the next seven weeks,” he said.
Asked about his own future, Buckley said he was “pragmatic but not defeatist” and would continue to focus on improving his team.
The off-contract coach admitted the ongoing speculation about his job had taken a toll on his players.
“They’re only human, and there’s no doubt that it does impact in some shape or form, but that’s the reality and it ain’t changing,” Buckley said.
“We need to make sure that we understand that, look after the things that we can control and prepare as well as we can for next week.”
Club president Eddie McGuire is overseas and there are ongoing reviews of club operations.
McGuire brokered the controversial 2009 agreement where Mick Malthouse handed over the senior coaching role to Buckley two years later.
The Magpies finished fourth in 2012 but their win-loss record has worsened every year since.
This will be the fourth-straight season where they finish outside the top eight.