June 22, 2021

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Radical two-man Pies plan to replace Buckley

2 min read
Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes has tossed up a radical option amid Collingwood's search for...

Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes has tossed up a radical option amid Collingwood's search for a new head coach, following the departure of Nathan Buckley.

Magpies assistant Robert Harvey will take over as interim head coach after Buckley's final game in charge, Collingwood's Queen's Birthday clash with Melbourne next Monday.

MORE: Magpies skipper Scott Pendlebury left feeling 'numb' after 'shock' Buckley exit

MORE: 'The end of an era': Eddie McGuire's 'emotional' tribute to outgoing Nathan Buckley

And among the contenders for the long-term position are Hawthorn mastercoach Alastair Clarkson, former St Kilda and Fremantle mentor Ross Lyon and Port Adelaide assistant Michael Voss.

But Cornes has suggested the Magpies entertain the idea of a succession plan involving Mark Williams and Sam Mitchell. Williams guided Port Adelaide to the 2004 premiership and is now a Melbourne development coach, while Mitchell started as a West Coast assistant and is now at the helm of Hawthorn's VFL affiliate, Box Hill.

"I just wonder whether Mark Williams is worth ringing. Actually, I know that he's worth ringing," Cornes said on SEN.

"I think something unique but something a bit innovative, maybe a Williams-Mitchell combination where Mark Williams at his age coaches for two years at Collingwood, helps develop the young group, they're in a rebuilding phase with a lot of players coming through, they're going to go to the draft again next year, we know no one in the country is better with young players than Mark Williams.

"To have him there at the helm for two years with Sam Mitchell underneath him and transition that way until Sam is ready, I think is a combination that could absolutely work at Collingwood.

"Yes, it's a little bit different, it's something that they probably wouldn't have considered before, but I think that's a partnership that could work at Collingwood."

Clarkson is contracted to Hawthorn until the end of 2022 and Mitchell, a four-time premiership Hawk and five-time best-and-fairest winner, is the leading contender to replace him.

Buckley was a Collingwood assistant under Mick Malthouse in 2010 and 2011, before taking on the top job ahead of season 2012.

The former Collingwood captain is also arguably the Magpies' greatest-ever player, having won a Brownlow Medal, a North Smith Medal, six best-and-fairest gongs and seven All Australian blazers across 260 AFL games.

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