“The leaders were aware of the decision that 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.
“There was one one specific bit of on-field feedback [to Treloar] related to on-field connection … Potentially those two things put together [with telling senior players] were perceived as ‘your teammates don’t support you or don’t want you at the football club’. There’s something in my communication that has failed for Adam to feel that … I need to be better in that regard.
“This is a break-up. This is something he was aware of 12 months ago that became more real now and it’s been difficult … it was a business decision, unfortunately.
“By having to make these brutal decisions, which are clearly against the individuals wants and needs, I feel like we are actually being side-by-side with what the remainder of the club … are looking for.”
Buckley said Treloar’s partner Kim Ravaillion moving to Queensland for netball was a “catalyst in some shape or form” for the trade and to start a conversation with him about a move, but he also said Collingwood’s salary cap situation, which has been remedied following the trade period, made the club feel like it had “one hand tied behind its back” in recent years.
“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,” Buckley said.
“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.”
Buckley also addressed Stephenson’s claim that he did not hear from anyone at the club after he was told by management he was up for trade.
Buckley responded on Monday: “The communication between a club and a manager often informs the progress of a decision [to the player] … That concept was floated through our list management crew with his management. Jaidyn was aware in his exit [interview] that there was a possibility that we would explore that and look for that.
“He wanted to confirm if this is what I was looking for … ‘Is this what you want?’ I had to be clear to him then that this is where the football club needs to go. If you’ve got an opportunity elsewhere, mate, I would take it.”
Buckley said he has called Stephenson, Bosenavulagi, Treloar and Phillips since their trades.
“I can understand it [the anger from fans]. Probably not, no [have I seen the fans this angry],” he said.
“There’s a lot of things that we could have done better over the recent past.
“It’s brutal but we feel it was needed.
“How do you honour the individual whilst doing what is needed for the whole?
“We can’t keep every person on our list … we can’t pay outside of the cap.
“Yes, we had to [actively drive the players out of the club]. The conversations were pretty short and sharp … some [reasons] inside of their control and some nothing to do with those individuals.
“This gives us the best chance of contending on field [for a premiership].
“It’s been on the cards for probably the last three or four years.”
Buckley accepted the club did not get market value in the short-term for the players, but that the club had let players go that could be replaced without damaging the fabric of the playing group overall.
Buckley’s appearance on radio comes a day after CEO Mark Anderson sent a letter to fans, saying salary cap issues were “key” to the decision to move on players.
Anthony is a sports reporter at The Age.