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Carlton Draft series, Nathan Buckley, Nilma Darnum Football Netball club, debut, club training, inspiring, teammates, Brownlow Medallist

AFL great Nathan Buckley is so determined to give his best this weekend for Nilma Darnum in the Carlton Draft series that he suited up for a Thursday training run.

Fronting up for essentially a “grand final” against the Catani Blues, Buckley travelled the more than 100 kilometres out to the club’s base east of Melbourne to take part in a run and skills session.

Despite the cold, wet conditions, the Collingwood legend joined in the drills – even apologising for any kick that missed a target.

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He shared a laugh with his new teammates and quickly started learning names as he took part in the session.

The training singlet was a new-look for Buckley as Nilma Darnum wear Essendon’s red and black; something the man himself has shared a laugh about on his social media warning Collingwood fans might find it “distressing”.

Nathan Buckley headed down to Nilma Darnum training ahead of his Carlton Draft debut.Source: Supplied

The 50-year-old hasn’t featured at AFL level in more than 15 years, turning to coaching after his playing career ended in 2007.

But his knack for coaching was on display once again on Thursday night as he offered his advice during the session to the Nilma Darnum team.

“Obviously with the lights, if you can get them to run before they kick, then you get that extra 10 or 15 or 20 (metres),” he shared with one coach.

Buckley’s training arrival certainly lifted spirits at the winless club, with some of the younger 16s players hanging around for a second session to get up close to the 2003 Brownlow Medallist.

“Got the fresh mouthguard done the other day, too!” he told his new teammates as he suited up.

Buckley was able to offer some coaching advice during the session before sticking around to enjoy pizza and a catch up with his new teammates.

Nathan Buckley headed down to Nilma Darnum training ahead of his Carlton Draft debut.Source: Supplied

The ex-Magpies coach was such a good sport, he took part in the punishment wheel – spinning up a leg wax much to the applause and whistles of his new clubmates.

He also took the time to speak with the under 16s who train before the opens team.

Nilma Darnum are pinning their hopes on Buckley as they look to shake a 35-game losing streak.

Already Carlton Draft players have delivered wins for four of their five teams this year.

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