A team of Buckleys

In some ways Heritier Lumumba and Heath Shaw represent opposite ends of a spectrum of Collingwood players. Heritier comes from an exotic background, has had some challenging experiences in his life and is a serious thinker with a strong social conscience. Heath comes from a working class background, exceptional only in the fact that his Dad was a Collingwood Captain and star footballer. The kindest description of Heath’s off field behaviour is that he is a larrikin and a bit of a lair.

What they have in common is that they are fine courageous and hard working footballers, strong team players and they were totally committed to Collingwood Football Club.The other thing they have in common is that next year neither will be playing for the Magpies. Heath was traded to GWS last year and it seems inevitable that Heritier will be traded next month. Heath Shaw did not originally want to go and I doubt that Heritier does either.

It would appear that Buckley does not want players who lack his single minded dedication to football. As a player Buckley was talented, single minded, hard working and a solid citizen off the field. If there was anything in his life apart from football he kept it very much to himself. He has a clone in his captain, Scott Pendlebury, but not every player is like that. It would appear that there is no place in Bucks’ team for players who, while they give their all on the field, have challenging behaviours and/or minds of their own off the field.

Collingwood did not benefit from losing Heath Shaw last season and they won’t benefit from losing Heritier Lumumba either. I still admire Buckley as a coach and I loved him as a player but he won’t win a premiership with a team full of Buckleys.



  1. I’ve often wondered that myself. I understand the need to move people on and get new blood in but he is most likely just going to get new people with similar problems as Heath and Harry O. If he does manage to find players with the same single minded dedication to football as he had he’ll probably find out they don’t have anywhere near the same ability and if they do have the same ability other clubs will snap them up first.

  2. As you see by moniker, not a Collingwood fan, but have to agree. Football clubs are made up of different personalities, different people, although maybe on the same track as wanting to win a GF as much as anybody. And with everything outside football now, you must make a supreme sacrifice. You must accept what you are told whether you like it or,not. No excuse if they don’t. Malthouse not my favorite but if players play for him(cliche ridden) he must have something. Maybe someone can tell me if Brisbane had have kept Michael Voss, would they be the same side after virtually the board was gone?????????????Interesting times coming up I believe.

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    Dave, I was and continue to be disappointed with the decision to move Heath Shaw on. He was as Collingwood as any player gets these days, a premiership hero (that smother!!) and a fantastic player. He had a wonderful season with the Giants this year. Surely there could have been found a way to accomodate him.
    Heritier is an interesting case. In my opinion he has clearly peaked and opponents have largely worked him out. Still handy but a long way from the player he was in 2010. We only hear a snippet of what goes on behind closed doors. I admire his values. Is he replaceable? I think he is. Would much rather H.Shaw running off half-back. Lumumba has been a wonderful servant. All the best to him whether he stays or goes.

  4. Very much agree, Dave. I think the best coaches (Rios, occasionally Malthouse) get the best from the players they have. But it does seem to be a trend to employ automatons so that the coach is the real player in the game!

  5. Yeah, it’s an interesting one. I was always amazed Malthouse was able to keep that bunch of personalities together and coherent for so long. That said I’m also a great believer in that the coach can only do so much in keeping the team together. Particularly for the more individually inclined they are much better brought into line by their peer group – the on field and off field leaders that hold the other players accountable. Is Collingwood lacking in that area at the moment? I don’t know the squad well enough to say.

  6. The Shaw trade was a shocker. Players like him don’t grow on trees – we don’t just miss his run, but his knack of taking contested marks in the back half. Surely the job of a coach, manager, teacher is to work with different personalities and find a way to get the best out of them. If Heath was frustrated playing defence, perhaps he could have been used as a raging bull in the centre square – would have been handy in there this season. I still think GWS were just a little too eager to trade Adams – reckon they knew something we didn’t. I hope Harry stays but gotta agree with Luke – his game has become too one dimensional i.e takes on the opposition all the time and they are onto him and he’s been getting caught lately. Also bombs the ball a bit as well. Having said that, I hope he stays and returns to his form of 2009-10, or first half of 2013 when he moved to the wing. C’mon Bucks, we can work it out!

  7. Excellent article, and a trend that is apparent at both elite and sub elite levels. Long gone are the days of having a Van Der Haar/Jacko in the side. More now about the automatons living/eating/breathing footy, footy, footy. The next logical step for Buckley is to arrange to have the robot Craig as his offsider.

  8. I’ve not made up my mind about Bucks as a coach yet, but it is worrying that while perennial top four finishers Hawthorn and Sydney top up their teams and have a core of experience remaining from several years ago, Collingwood has virtually replaced 2/3 of its 2010-11 GF side. Another poor decision may have been to push Dawes out; as we have yet to find support for Trav who gets double-teamed every week. Yes, there are some promising kids coming through but they are a long way from holding down key positions and playing strong footy for a whole season particularly with long-term injuries to the few experienced players still on the list. Malthouse got players to play as a team with a game plan that suited their capabilities, and forgave naughty/difficult boys for being human, whereas Bucks appears to tolerate little departure from his own standards and has tried to implement a totally different game style. It is possible that Bucks has reacted to external pressure re player behavior off-field but the jury is out regarding his ‘plan’. Why didn’t Karnezis get a game late in the season?

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