Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley says Robert Harvey is more than ready to take on a senior coaching job as the St Kilda great prepares to interview for the main role at his old club.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has strongly endorsed Robert Harvey’s senior coaching credentials, saying the St Kilda champion’s game knowledge is as good as he has seen.
Harvey will interview for St Kilda’s vacant senior coaching job over the next fortnight in a bid to return to the club where he carved out a magnificent 383-game playing career.
Caretaker coach Brett Ratten is in the box seat to remain in the top job after guiding the club to its third win under him against Fremantle on Sunday.
Harvey, 47, has maintained a low public profile in his 11-year stint as assistant coach, but Buckley said behind the low-key exterior was a superb relationship-builder and master tactician.
“If I got hit by a bus tomorrow, he could step up and I don’t think we would skip a beat,” Buckley told the Herald Sun.
“Tactically, I lean on him heavily for his knowledge of the game, but underpinning that is his work rate, because he has never relied on his talent, he was always the hardest worker.
“So, he watches more vision from more angles than anyone I have ever seen, any coach I have ever known.
“But I would also describe him, through his experience with Ray McLean and Leading Teams, as a relationship coach. He is really easy to talk to and he can get to everyone’s level.
“So it’s a strong mix.”
Harvey was judged the AFL Coaches’ Association assistant coach of the year in 2013 at Collingwood, after brief stints at Fremantle under Ross Lyon in 2011 and Ratten at Carlton in 2009-10.
Harvey has often shied away from the public spotlight, but Buckley said his senior assistant and midfield coach was more interested in analysing the game, than spruiking himself.
“He’s the exact antithesis of someone trying to push his own barrow, he’s the opposite because he’s a head-down-bum-up guy,” Buckley said.
“He is just so focused on what’s next, how are we going to win.
“He coaches really consistently and he has improved his communication and his presentation style so that it sinks in far deeper than it did when it first came in.
“His one-on-one stuff has always been huge, but his group stuff is now very strong.”
Lyon also backed Harvey, saying the dual Brownlow Medalist has worked hard for his senior coaching chance.
“There is a view on Robert which I think is inaccurate and the wrong perception. He can really have a hard conversation,” Lyon said.
“He doesn’t rant and rave, but he makes the point.
“He has done a wonderful apprenticeship and if he got the opportunity, I’m sure he would make the most of it.”
Buckley said Harvey had an incredible passion for the game and was determined to win the premiership which eluded him as a player.
“When he sees a well-organised and well-structured team, you can just see his eyes light up,” Buckley said.
“He loves that challenge of getting people together on the same page and doing it.
“We have got a lot of blokes that are wounded in some shape or form their career and myself clearly, from not being able to taste the ultimate.
“But no one wears it on their sleeve more than ‘Banger’.
“He is driven by it, he wants to be a part of success and the same single-mindedness which drove him as a player is reflected in his coaching.”