Collingwood’s nightmare off-season has been thrust into an ugly light with forward Jaidyn Stephenson opening up after being traded away.
The club entered the Free Agency and Trade Period with major salary cap issues which forced them to put several stars on the trade table.
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The fallout of the situation left diehard fans up in arms over how the club was being run with questions bobbing up over how they had got into such a mess.
Adam Treloar was the first big name star to be unwanted by the club, with the midfielder’s fallout going from bad to heartbreaking.
As the speculation continued to mount, more players names were floated with Stephenson’s soon hitting the rumour mill.
The 21-year-old, owed roughly $600,000 in 2021, was another player the Pies were looking to offload as they attempted to bring their salary cap back under control.
On the final day of the Trade Period, Stephenson was sent out the door in a move that sees him join North Melbourne.
Shortly after being sent packing, the young star opened up on just how the club handled the trade rumours and said nobody ever contacted him, he instead had to call coach Nathan Buckley to find out what was going on.
“It’s been a whirlwind of a week. Not really sure how it has gone down but I’m just thankful of the opportunity North Melbourne has given me,” Stephenson said on SEN’s Bob and Andy.
“A couple of days before the trade period my manager mentioned I might be traded. It was a bit of a shock at the time but I have now got my head around it.
“I wanted to stay. I loved my time at the club and the relationships I built but I’m sure I can do that at North Melbourne.”
It was then Stephenson opened up about his phone call with Buckley and how the coach told him to start searching and pursuing a trade.
“I actually rang Bucks and asked what was happening. He said for me to pursue a trade as heavily as I can,” he said.
“Bucks said I hadn’t opened up to the group enough which I didn’t really agree with. He also said there was some things he didn’t like as a footballer which is fair enough because I didn’t have a great year.
“That phone call I made to the Bucks was the only time I spoke to anyone in the heirachy at Collingwood. I did have a lot of messages from the players.”
Stephenson said he didn’t hear from the club “for about a week or so” when he decided to take the initiative and call Buckley.
AFL media’s Damian Barrett asked Stephenson how he felt about how it had all unfolded and if he was hurt by the process.
“Yeah I am a bit. I was obviously very happy playing at Collingwood. I enjoyed being there, so to be told in a way that you’re not wanted, it does hurt,” Stephenson said on AFL Trade Radio.
Fans were quick to heap praise on Stephenson for being open and honest in his post-trade interviews.