IN THE hazy moments after Collingwood's four-point loss in last year's preliminary final, Nathan Buckley used a word which he now realises was wrong.
The season was a "waste", Buckley said minutes after the game – and Collingwood's season – had ended.
But when asked if he still viewed the year as a waste on In The Game with Damian Barrett, he said:
"No, because nothing's a waste … even if you lower your colours and you make poor decisions and show a part of yourself you're not proud of.
"Even the worst-case scenario you could ever think of … it's not a waste as long as you're prepared to learn from it. So, the season was not a waste for us. We had some great times through the year, we had some hard times, but we supported each other.
"But ultimately, we do want to take these chances that come, and we will, and we do, we've taken a lot of our chances. But it's not fatal. It is an abrupt end to the year. And that was probably the comment that came off the back of that. I don't get every word in order and not every thought or impulse I have is the right way to communicate or the right way to think about it.
"But I think I represent the people of our football club pretty well. And I'm pretty sure there would have been a few of them thinking 'this is a waste'. I was prepared to straighten that out pretty quickly, because if we're going on this journey destination thing, the journey is never a waste."
The one-kick 2019 preliminary final loss was the second consecutive season to end in finals heartache for the Magpies, following the five-point loss to West Coast in the 2018 Grand Final.
Buckley's personal heartache in finals also takes in the 2002 Grand Final loss to Brisbane (nine points) and the 2007 preliminary final loss to Geelong (five points), which was his final match of a 15-year, Brownlow Medal-winning, seven-time All-Australian career.
He refuses to wallow or bemoan the lack of footy-god intervention.
"Who's to say that I haven't been fortunate to be in those positions in the first place," he said.
"So yeah, I get reminded about decisions that were made, you know, the forks in the road and decisions to go here and not there or decisions to do this and not that. We've all got that in our lives.
"And if you spend time trying to go back to work out what your sliding doors, in reality, might have been, well, then you're not actually living the life that you have actually got right in front of you, or seeing the best of it.
"I simply don't fall for that. It's not something that enters my psyche at all. I feel very fortunate to be in the position that I'm in, in my life at the football club and to be doing something that I love, with a group of people that I have great respect and admiration for, young and old.
"I feel very lucky in that scenario. So, we can go chase how good we can be and chase the ultimate success with our heads high and full of confidence, given that we know that we're in a pretty good environment."
In the wide-ranging interview, Buckley also:
- LIKENED Jeremy Howe's impact on the Collingwood backline to that of premiership-winning captain Nick Maxwell;
- RELIVED with intricate detail the final seconds of the four-point preliminary final loss to GWS, when his All-Australian duo of Brodie Grundy and Scott Pendlebury nearly pulled off a stunning match-winning move;
- SAID there would be a time when Pendlebury, in 2020 entering his seventh season as Magpies captain, would not be skipper.