How Mick stopped a player revolt

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 21 Oktober 2012 | 14.43

Mick Malthouse with Eddie McGuire at the end of the 2011 season. Picture: Michael Klein Source: Herald Sun

Biography of Mick Malthouse to be released this week. Source: Herald Sun

MICK Malthouse hosed down a 2011 player revolt at Collingwood that wanted to keep him as coach.

In an exclusive book extract from Malthouse: A Football Life, to be released this week, it is revealed the Magpies' 2010 premiership coach was approached by a senior player who said several of his colleagues were prepared to sign a petition to have him stay on.

Former champion Collingwood player Nathan Buckley signed a deal in mid-2009 that meant he would take over from Malthouse as Collingwood coach for season 2012, regardless of interim results.

But almost from the moment the Pies saluted in the 2010 Grand Final replay against St Kilda, there was intense speculation about the arrangement and how the football giants would co-exist.

In the biographical book on her father, Christi Malthouse has revealed that while the thought of the petition appealed, the three-time premiership coach talked the player around because he thought it would "derail" the Magpies' 2011 premiership tilt which, at the time, was flying.

"By Round 16 (of the 2011 AFL season), the Magpies were second on the ladder, with 12 wins, one loss and two byes," Christi writes.

"By now it was early July and speculation about the future of the Collingwood coach had reached boiling point.

"Rumours abounded that Mick might not stay at Collingwood, that he might possibly coach elsewhere in 2012.

"Mick was in his office when a player tapped on the door.

"The young man in front of him looked nervous. 'Can I talk to you?'

"As the coach listened, his player revealed to him that several senior players wanted to sign a petition to have him reinstated as senior coach for the following year.

"It was nothing against the 'coach in waiting' (Buckley), he insisted, but the boys were concerned.

"They loved Mick, they needed Mick, and they weren't prepared to stand back and do nothing as he was replaced.

"Especially after winning a premiership. 'I would like to take it to management and the board', said the player.

"Mick's heart thumped inside his chest and echoed in his mind. 'What an amazing gesture,' he thought. But what a disaster it would be."

Christi writes that her father then made a call based on keeping the Magpies on a roll.

" 'No. Put those ideas away. I appreciate it, I really do, but it will only do more damage than good'," she writes.

"He was firm. 'It's not going to change anything. Nathan will be your coach next year - you have to get used to that. The only thing that can derail our season this year is if our focus is taken off winning.'

"Mick was desperate not to let that happen.

"They talked some more, and in the end it was agreed that everyone was better off concentrating solely on playing good football.

"They could worry about next year later."

Malthouse, who has signed to coach Carlton next season, was famously in tears as Collingwood rallied late to beat Hawthorn in the 2011 preliminary final.

But the Magpies were over-run by Geelong in the final quarter of the Grand Final, having led narrowly at halftime.

From Malthouse: A Football Life, published Wednesday by Allen & Unwin. Copyright Christi Malthouse 2012.

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