Calls for Buckley to stand down from coaching

AFL reporter Damian Barrett has called for Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley to stand down after breaching the AFL's COVID-19 restrictions in the competition's Queensland hub.

The Magpies, who were the fifth team to be fined for hub breaches this week, were handed a $50,000 fine ($25,000 suspended) after Buckley and assistant coach Brenton Sanderson played tennis on Friday with two people from outside the club's bubble.

Buckley and Sanderson were given approval to play tennis outside of the hub against each other, but breached restrictions when outsiders joined them.

The timing of the incident couldn't have been any more inconvenient after Collingwood club president Eddie McGuire just a day earlier called on the AFL to hand down stricter punishments for breaches to reflect the fact that the competition is poised on a knife's edge.

Nathan Buckley

Reflecting on McGuire's view, Barrett said Buckley should stand himself down for this afternoon's clash with Fremantle.

"I honestly believe he should consider standing down from coaching his team tonight against the Dockers in Perth," Barrett told Nine's Sunday Footy Show.

"He's been quarantined away from the football club anyway while he's dealing with a test that had to be taken because he played with someone outside of the confines of his football club.

"You line up the transgression with what his own president Eddie McGuire said, basically on the day of the infringement when it came to Buckley and Sanderson playing tennis.

"So, you just insert Nathan Buckley and Brenton Sanderson into what Eddie said there and we're clear now on what Eddie thinks should happen to such a situation."

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Barrett added that the "message isn't getting through" to AFL clubs which is why the league must step in to set an example.

"The apologies are fine and look Nathan Buckley is a really good person and his apology was genuine don't get me wrong, but the messaging isn't getting through," he said.

"That's the fifth club that's done something in the past week which is putting in jeopardy the entire AFL season.

"I think sending the strongest message would come in the form of consideration at least to not coaching tonight."

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Host Tony Jones agreed with Barrett and said the league should hit coaches and club staff with the same penalties as players after midfielder Steele Sidebottom copped a four-week suspension last month for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.

"I don't disagree with you Damo," Jones said.

"If we suspend players, Steele Sidebottom for four weeks and other players who copped suspensions, why not extend that to club administrators and coaches?"

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