COLLINGWOOD'S highly respected football boss Graham Wright will take a sabbatical from the AFL until next year's finals.
After up to 35 straight years involved in football, Wright will take leave from March to September next year during the Magpies' premiership defence.
The 55-year-old will head with his wife Tracey to Europe and the United States in a move supported by club hierarchy.
"Having extended leave and spending some time travelling overseas during our winter has been on the cards for me for a few years and now is the right time for my wife and I to do that," Wright said.
"It has been a great few seasons at Collingwood so far and to reach the ultimate success with our men's program this year is a real credit to everyone involved at our club."
Collingwood is yet to decide on Wright's interim replacement but he is confident he is leaving the football department in a strong position.
"Wrighty and I have been discussing this for some time now and while he will be away for a six-month period travelling overseas, he will continue to provide assistance to me and the club as a consultant where required," Magpies chief executive Craig Kelly said.
"He has ensured the football program is well-placed during his time away – we have great leaders internally with the skills and capability to step up in Graham's absence and through this period.
"More broadly, as a club, we want to ensure that there is opportunity for senior leaders at Collingwood to have a work-life balance and normalise this type of leave for our key people."
Wright, a 1990 premiership player with the Magpies, spent an extended period at Hawthorn under Alastair Clarkson before moving across to Collingwood in 2021.