Collingwood cuts former Cat great Hocking from coaching panel

The massive cutbacks in AFL club budgets has claimed an important figure in Collingwood's 2018 rise, with ex-Geelong champion and assistant coach Garry Hocking moved on.

Hocking, who had been slated to coach Collingwood's VFL team this year before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, was told that he would not be part of the club's coaching panel for 2021.

Garry Hocking at work on a farm after being losing his position at Collingwood.

The former Cat had worked as an assistant coach at Port Adelaide and with the Collingwood midfielders successfully in 2018 and 2019. He was Collingwood's VFL coach and helped Brenton Sanderson with the forwards before he was stood down in late March as the virus forced AFL clubs to slash their football departments.

The Magpies, who had lost Justin Longmuir when their 2018-19 defensive coach landed the Fremantle senior coaching gig, opted to stand down Hocking, while keeping their line coaches Robert Harvey (midfield), Sanderson (forwards) and Matthew Boyd (defence) and head of development Hayden Skipworth for the duration of the 2020 season in a pared-back coaching set-up.

Hocking had been working as a farm hand in the Geelong area after he was stood down, in a stark illustration of how assistant coaches had been forced to find employment outside football when the coronavirus saw them either stood down or removed.

Hocking announcing his retirement from football in 2001.Credit:Allsport

Hocking had been stoppages coach in 2018 and 2019, having joined the Magpies with Longmuir following a late 2017 review of the football department by football boss Geoff Walsh. Coach Nathan Buckley retained his position after that review with significant changes to his support staff, game and management styles.

Hocking, one of Geelong's greatest players from the late 1980s until the end of his career in 2001, had coached South Adelaide when Collingwood hired him.

The decision comes as Collingwood heads into an elimination final in which they will be huge underdogs against West Coast at the Eagles' home fortresss of Optus Stadium.

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