Former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has revealed the Magpies were “really keen” on now-Geelong small forward Tyson Stengle last year.
Buckley says Collingwood “did a great deal of due diligence” on Stengle, who was impressing at the time for SANFL club Woodville-West Torrens
The Magpies opted against selecting Stengle in last year’s mid-season draft, instead of adding Ash Johnson and Aiden Begg.
Stengle was snapped up by the Cats as a delisted free agent last November, reuniting with former mentor and ex-Crows teammate Eddie Betts, who joined Geelong as a development coach.
“Collingwood did a great deal of due diligence on Stengle and were really keen on looking at him,” Buckley told SEN Mornings.
“We had a look at him in the mid-season draft last year.
“I think what Geelong have done really well is worked out that Stengle and Eddie Betts were nearly a tag team. They had to come in together.
“The fruits of that are more than obvious and Stengle looks really settled.
“He looks like he’s got great support and a great confidant in Eddie in the coaching panel. He’s living with him. He’s thriving and his talent is coming to the fore.”
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Stengle has been hailed as one of the recruits of the year, kicking 29 goals in 14 games so far in 2022, while averaging 6.6 score engagements per match.
Buckley praised the 23-year-old’s maturity following a turbulent time at the Crows that resulted in his contract being terminated after a string of off-field incidents.
“The other thing that we often overlook is he’s gone along a journey, and he’s learned from his mistakes,” Buckley said.
“He’s reached a level of maturity that he didn’t have two years or five years ago, so there is a natural evolution.
“Some people will get there, some people won’t get there, but all credit has to go to him, not just to Geelong.
“It is a little bit of right place, right time for Geelong, but they’ve put the right support mechanisms around the player.
“The player himself is the one that makes the decisions, puts his effort in, gets the reward and then feels like, ‘Wow. I’m on the right path’.
“It’s self-fulfilling and you start putting more effort in, more reward, you buy into it even more, and then you’re off. That’s clearly what it looks like with Stengle.
“I think too quickly we actually give up on talented individuals that are just going through a patch where they’re learning about themselves and understanding what the profession is requiring of them.”
Stengle starred with three goals in Geelong’s thrilling win over Richmond last weekend.