Malthouse and Buckley back in the day.
Malthouse and Buckley back in the day.

Buckley expresses regret over stinging comments on Malthouse

NATHAN Buckley regrets how his comments about Mick Malthouse have put the focus on their broken relationship, rather than Malthouse's AFL honour.

The Collingwood coach was keen to shut down the issue on Thursday, taking a few questions about Malthouse at his weekly media conference before saying he would make no further comment.

But Buckley in no way backed down from what he said about Malthouse and said there had been no contact between them in the past 24 hours.

The fissure between the two Magpies greats in the wake of the controversial 2011 coaching succession is well known.

It took centre stage on Wednesday when Buckley spoke candidly in an SEN interview about Malthouse, the day after Collingwood's most recent premiership coach was inducted into the AFL Hall Of Fame.

There had been criticism about the timing of Buckley's comments and he was asked if he had any regrets over the issue.

Buckley said people should listen to all his comments about Malthouse in the interview and their context.

"It was about an understanding of Mick as a driven person and how that drive has pushed him to success in his career," Buckley said.

"Ultimately you break a few eggs along the way and some of them are broken relationships - which, in actual fact, ours is.

"I don't think that should be the focus of what came out of that conversation - there was actually a lot of positivity.

"I regret the way it has been reported."

In the interview, Buckley spoke of Malthouse's rat cunning and his skill as a master manipulator.

Buckley is certain Malthouse regards him as an enemy, and the current coach called himself one of the bodies on the side of the road.

But Buckley also spoke admiringly of Malthouse's determination and drive - sentiments he repeated on Thursday.

"Mick's been a tremendous servant to the game - success as a player, success as a coach," Buckley said.

"He's gone about it in his own way. He's done it being himself, which I admire.

"I've always admired people who have the courage to do it their way.

"I don't think it's appropriate that our relationship, or the breakdown of our relationship, is a focus at this time."

Mick Malthouse, Eddie McGuire and Nathan Buckley on the day the Collingwood coaching succession was announced.
Mick Malthouse, Eddie McGuire and Nathan Buckley on the day the Collingwood coaching succession was announced.

Buckley was asked if he could see a time when he and Malthouse might bury the hatchet.

"That's probably for another time, because any more comment I make about it, I'm not confident will be received in the right way," he said.

"If you want to refer to where I reckon it stands at the moment, I've already made those comments.

"They've been perceived in a certain light."

Above all, Buckley said Malthouse's induction deserved due recognition.

"I agree with Mick, the focus on this one relationship is disappointing … given Mick's induction in the Hall Of Fame," he said.

"The focus should be on his significant contribution to the game, as a player and a coach."

News Corp Australia

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