Nathan Buckley dejected after Collingwood’s Grand Final defeat.
Nathan Buckley dejected after Collingwood’s Grand Final defeat.

Ancient philosophy to mend Pies’ broken hearts

COLLINGWOOD coach Nathan Buckley has revealed how the Magpies used an ancient form of Japanese philosophy as the mantra that drove them throughout an emotionally challenging 2018 season and into Saturday's AFL Grand Final.

Buckley told the club's Grand Final dinner the Magpies had used Kintsugi - the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery - as a metaphor for their struggles.

In Japanese philosophy, the art form treats breakage and the repair as part of the history of the object, rather than be seen as something to hide.

"The philosophy underneath that is about celebrating your hardships and understanding that the things that break you can actually have you coming out the other side stronger or have you coming out more resilient … a better version of you," Buckley said.

"I think what we have done as a club and as a team through love, through care, through support and by turning back towards each other is to highlight those areas where we are broken and to see a beauty in it, because it is going to make us stronger … it is going to make us more ready for what we are going to have to face going forward.

"It is a beautiful thing, and we are going to be all right."

Nathan Buckley speaks at Collingwood’s Grand Final after-party. Picture: Ian Currie
Nathan Buckley speaks at Collingwood’s Grand Final after-party. Picture: Ian Currie


He stressed the hardship that the players endured this year had only served to unite them tighter than ever before, and would continue to do so into the future.

Noting Travis Varcoe's grief over the death of his sister, Maggie, and the season-ending knee injury to Lynden Dunn as two of the many significant challenges the playing group had to deal with, the coach said the strength and support shown would stand the club in good stead going into the future.

"We've had guys that have been broken, whether it is this year or the year before," he said. "We've had guys who have been challenged and who have found a way to get through.

"Varcs' challenges have been supported, the way that he has committed back to his team has been first-class. 'Dunny' … we have missed you, but you have never failed to turn up for your teammates. You were always there for the team, even though I understand you were hurting mate."

"The things that everyone else thinks is going to break us will make us stronger and more resilient on the other side."

He thanked the playing group for their desperation and dedication throughout the season, and said he had never been more proud of them or the club than he was on Saturday after the heartbreaking five-point loss.

He also reserved special praise for the coaching staff, and how they had played a significant role in the team's turnaround from 13th in 2017 to runners-up this year.

Buckley said the club had taken a 'Nothing Else Matters' slogan into the season, saying for too long the club had worried about the outside world had said about it.

"It was largely based on the fact that we, as a big organisation with an ego, bought too much into what people externally said about us - good, bad or indifferent," he said.

"I think we have taken the first tentative steps this season into moving beyond that.

"We don't need to beat our chest when people tell us things are good; we don't need to beat our chest when people tell us we are no good."

He said: "We are all hurting … we didn't quite get to where we wanted to go."

"I look forward to committing and contributing whatever I can to this place in the future to make sure the people in this room can front up to a night like this, and we don't have to have the handbrake on when we celebrate."