Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has rushed to Jordan De Goey’s defence after he and teammate Jeremy Howe were caught with phones in the dressing room during Friday night’s loss to the Eagles.
The AFL prohibits players from using their phones in dressing rooms while games are in progress so De Goey and Howe may face sanctions for their actions.
Both Howe and De Goey left the field injured during the game, with De Goey deemed to have been concussed after collecting the hip of Eagles midfielder Tim Kelly.
Buckley pointed to De Goey’s head injury as the reason for the pair’s mishap.
“The bloke we’re talking about that grabbed the phones had just been omitted from the game for a concussion so he’s not thinking straight,” he said on Monday’s edition of AFL 360.
When host Mark Robinson asked why a Collingwood staffer wasn’t on hand to discourage the 25-year-old from reaching for the devices, Buckley pointed to personnel issues.
“We’re a little understaffed at the moment, Robbo, after COVID so most of our people were hands on deck,” he said.
“The main issue there is that … the bloke that went and grabbed the phones, he wasn’t deemed well enough to continue to play a game of footy because of a knock to the head.
“I don’t think he was thinking straight.”
Howe was helped from the field during the Pies’ loss to the Eagles.Source:Getty Images
After his side’s 27-point loss, Magpies captain Scott Pendlebury said the club would accept any financial penalties handed down in the wake of the phone fiasco.
“We know as players that you shouldn’t be on them during the game and we’re sort of at the mercy of what the AFL want to do,” he said.
“The boys and the club have put their hands up and we‘ll see what happens”.
When quizzed about his coaching future on Monday night, the off-contract Buckley insisted his focus is on the Pies’ 2021 campaign rather than the prospect of re-signing.
“It’s not just about next year or the year after, I still think we can be a good team this year,” he said.
“I am really focused on what I am doing right now and I believe that if I’m doing that job to the best of my capacity and the people around me are thriving and blossoming, well then that’s what a senior coach’s role is.”
Buckley’s Pies surged to a semi-final berth in 2020 but have started the season with only one win from five starts. They’ll look to make amends against Essendon on Sunday.
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