Collingwood Rat Pack Dane Swan, Heath Shaw torch AFL greats Nick Riewoldt, Nathan Buckley

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Collingwood great Dane Swan and members of the infamous Rat Pack have launched a scathing attack on football greats Nick Riewoldt and Nathan Buckley.

Swan, along with Heath Shaw, Alan Didak, Ben Johnson and Chris Tarrant, earned the nickname “Rat Pack” as the Pies struggled with player group issues on and off the field en route to the 2010 AFL Championship.

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Riewoldt, whose St Kilda team lost this season’s grand final replay to Collingwood, sparked controversy this week when he discussed the possible appointment of Buckley as head coach of the Tasmanian Devils AFL expansion team.

Buckley, 51, ended his career with the Pies in 2007 before coaching the club from 2012 to 2021, failing to win a championship in any of his roles.

“I am excited, I think it would be a fantastic purchase,” said Riewoldt at the Football talk Podcasts.

“All he needs is an Elliot Yeo (sic, it was Dom Sheed) with his incredible goal kicking to become premiership coach (in Collingwood’s 2018 Grand Final loss to West Coast), so he can coach.

“I think the reason Bucks sometimes gets a bad reputation as a coach is because a certain section of Collingwood players like to blame him from time to time.

“The Rat Pack likes to hang it on Bucks.

“No, I think it would be a great signing (for Tasmania). He’s a footballer, a big personality and a very balanced person.”

Swan and Shaw were among those who responded to these comments and expressed their opinions as members of the group.

“The Rat Pack is making it a burden on everyone, not just the Bucks,” Swan said in his podcast Wednesday with Swanny and his friends.

“With all due respect, what the hell does Nick Riewoldt know about Nathan Buckley being a coach?

“I don’t know if he’s going to take on us… the Rat Pack beat him in the grand finale.

“Heath Shaw’s strangler, one of the main leaders, strangled him and he cost her her grandma.

“If Bucks didn’t give it to him, how would he know?”

As you can see above, Shaw chased down Riewoldt and prevented a certain goal in the first quarter of the game, in one of the most famous moments in AFL finals history.

Shaw and Dale Thomas, who was considered a “second-rate” member of the Rat Pack, also discussed Riewoldt’s comments on the same Football talk Podcast a day after the St Kilda star’s comments.

Thomas asked Shaw directly: “What part (of Riewoldt’s comments) particularly upset you?”

Shaw replied: “Well, the part that (Riewoldt) said is, ‘A certain proportion of the Collingwood players like to hang it on him (Nathan Buckley) a bit.'”

Thomas asked: “Is there anything wrong with his statement?”

Shaw said, “No. But that has nothing to do with why he has a bad reputation as a coach.”

“That’s because his record hasn’t been that good for most of the time.

“Yes, they reached the grand final and yes, they were just one kick away from it, but for five years it was a slow decline.

“I took a team out of the grand final, that way (points down). We talk about statistics, the AFL loves statistics at the moment, that’s not an ideal statistic.

“I just don’t know why he mentions the Rat Pack, it has nothing to do with us.”

Thomas was extremely highly rated when he joined Collingwood second overall in the 2005 AFL Draft and played 157 games for the club before leaving after the 2013 season to join Carlton.

He played another 101 games for arch-rivals the Blues.

Shaw also left the Magpies in 2013 and was traded to the GWS Giants in exchange for Taylor Adams.

Thomas expressed his belief that there is a misconception in the public about why the Rat Pack group had a problem with Buckley, and that this problem evidently still exists today.

“Do you think the relationship between the Rat Pack and the Bucks is misunderstood?” Thomas asked.

“Because I would go so far as to say that the general public thinks it’s just because they don’t like him because he’s not Mick Malthouse.

“The reason for my slight annoyance is not only because I had to leave the club, but also because we thought we had a chance to win or to be in the race for three, four, five years, like the Tigers.

“We thought we had a chance at the championship, so a lot of our frustration comes from that and not from making it a personal agenda.”

Shaw went further, claiming Buckley held a grudge against Collingwood for failing to end a 19-year championship drought while he was away from the club.

“Of course it’s personal for me because he traded me,” he said. “The whole team wasn’t traded – it was just you, me and a couple of buddies.”

“I think (Buckley) was, in some ways, the one who had a problem with us because we achieved ultimate fame.

“At least these two have something in common, Bucks and Nick Riewoldt, they are not Premier League players.

“That’s probably why they spend so much time together and praise each other.”

The two then discussed Buckley’s suitability as coach of the new Tasmanian team.

While Thomas felt Buckley would improve in his second stint as coach after recording 117 wins, 99 losses and two draws in a decade at Collingwood, Shaw expressed doubts that the 51-year-old was the right person for the new coaching position.

“It’s a tough job (being a coach in Tasmania), you start from scratch,” Shaw said.

“I was at zero, with the Giants I was almost at zero. It’s different when you take over a team that has played in a major final.

“You’re trying to build an entire club. In that sense, you’re building an entire state.”

“The pressure is on in the AFL, you have to win early. You have to get going straight away. Whoever takes it over, it’s going to be a tough job.”

Thomas replied: “But it is a big name that gives them immediate relevance.”

This gave Shaw the opportunity to make one last dig, replying, “Do we just want a big name or do we want a good coach?”

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