COLLINGWOOD coach Nathan Buckley has acknowledged driving players out of the club as the fall-out from a tumultuous Trade Period continues.
Adam Treloar (Western Bulldogs), Tom Phillips (Hawthorn) and new North Melbourne pair Jaidyn Stephenson and Atu Bosenavulagi all have new homes, with Treloar and Stephenson very vocal about how the news was delivered to them.
All except Bosenavulagi were under contract, and the club has said salary cap pressures and the desire to get into the draft were the impetus behind the dramatic few weeks.
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Speaking on SEN radio, Buckley was directly asked if he had "actively" driven players out of the club.
"Yes, we had to. The conversations were pretty short and sharp, and for a varying number of reasons. Some were inside their control and others had absolutely nothing to do with those individuals," Buckley said.
"It's been on the cards for probably the past three or four years. We nearly won the title in '18, we were around the mark and contending, we decided to keep the group together for as much as possible, and that required us – or the list manager and footy manager – to push back these cap issues for right or for wrong.
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"There are a lot of things which have come to pass over the last 24 months that have brought these decisions forward, and we thought this was the time we needed to stop pushing our pain into the future and take it all in one gulp now."
Treloar confirmed a report he was told by Buckley his teammates no longer wanted him at the club, but the coach refuted that to a point.
"This is a break-up, this is something he was aware of 12 months ago that became more real now. It's been obviously difficult for him and difficult for us as a football club, but it was a business decision, unfortunately," Buckley said.
"The leaders were aware of the decision the list management group had made soon after the season. That was done out of respect for the leaders and for them to provide genuine support and have a knowledge of what Adam and we were facing.
"There was one piece of feedback I gave Adam immediately after the season which related to on-field connection, and that came through reviews in the last couple of years. It's not something that was news to 'Ads'.
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"Potentially those two things put together was perceived as 'your teammates don't support you' or don't want you at the football club, and clearly there's something in my communication which has failed there."
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"The concept of exploring a trade was floated through our list management crew with his management. Jaidyn was aware on his exit (meeting) that there was a possibility we would explore that. The call he gave to me was two weeks later in the middle of Trade Period, he wanted to confirm it was what I was looking for, and everyone wants to hear from the senior coach. I had to be clear to him this was where the football club needs to go."
Adam Treloar's family situation, with partner Kim Ravaillion set to play netball in Queensland next year
"The reality of the possibility he might have been considering going to Queensland and being with his family was part of the reasoning around having the initial discussion with him 12 months ago and again this year.
"I need to be clear, it's not our job to live Adam and Kim's lives, they're entitled to live their lives the way they see fit, but it is our responsibility on a professional level how that might affect Adam's ability to do his job, which is to play football and contribute to the club.
"We're within our rights to have an assessment of that given our knowledge of Adam and the experiences we've shared since he came to the club."
Salary cap pressures
"We tried to act on this 12 months ago in the last off-season, not specifically with Adam, but with our situation with the salary cup and squaring up (back-ended contracts).
"We wanted to play it quieter in the trade period. We didn't get a great result, let's be clear with that, but I don't know if you're going to get a better result if you come out and say 'we need to adjust our salary cap'.
"We tried to foolishly maintain some bargaining position on the trade table by shutting our mouths, and that's caused even more angst on the other side."