‘I’m looking forward to playing Collingwood’: Stephenson takes aim at old club

‘I’m looking forward to playing Collingwood’: Stephenson takes aim at old club

Jaidyn Stephenson is already looking forward to taking on Collingwood next season after being offloaded to North Melbourne during the AFL trade period.

The 21-year-old livewire was one of four Magpies offloaded during last week’s trade period – along with Adam Treloar, Tom Phillips and fellow Kangaroos recruit Atu Bosenavulagi.

Stephenson was hurt by the way he learnt of Collingwood’s wish to move him on, through his manager with no direct contact from club officials, despite two years left to run on his contract.

He has since hired a personal trainer to help him prepare for a big 2021 pre-season campaign at North Melbourne.

“It’s certainly put a little chip on my shoulder and (given me) a lot of motivation to get out there and work hard and put my best foot forward here at North,” Stephenson told reporters on Monday.

“I’m really looking forward to the time that comes when we get to play Collingwood.”

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley on Monday said in a radio interview Stephenson was made aware during his post-season exit interview that the Magpies were considering trading him.

Stephenson denied that claim, maintaining he was shocked to learn he might be traded through his manager just days out from the start of the trade period.

Stephenson and Buckley have spoken since the trade period to clear the air but remain at odds over the specific details of how the move unfolded.

“I think there’s a difference between ‘what you need to work on’ and being traded,” Stephenson said.

“I didn’t have any indication, that’s how I felt, but the (dialogue) between us obviously wasn’t clear enough both ways.

“But it’s alright, it’s turned out well for me in the end.”

Stephenson said he harbours no ill-feeling towards Buckley and will happily “sit down and have a chat or a beer” with the Magpies coach in future.

The 2018 Rising Star winner, who kicked 76 goals in 54 games for Collingwood, has taken on board his former club’s feedback that he needs to raise his training standards.

He said it has put fire in his belly on arrival at Arden St.

“As young players we’re continually growing and building and we’ve all got things to work on, whether that be on the field or off the field,” Stephenson said.

“I’ve addressed mine and hopefully I can continue to improve on those.

“I’m sure the environment here at North Melbourne will help me to do that.”

© AAP