THREE years ago, Nathan Buckley and Rodney Eade were both plotting Collingwood's next premiership tilt.
Having extended their contracts at the Magpies, as senior coach and football director, respectively, chief executive Gary Pert was confident the pair would ensure the club was vying for another flag by 2017.
Come the end of this season, both Buckley and Eade may just be planning for life away from the AFL coalface. The heat is rising on them rapidly.
The Magpies of course allowed Eade to head north a few months after Pert outlined his goals.
The chance to coach the Gold Coast was too good an opportunity to pass up.
Eade had been a success as a senior coach at Sydney and the Western Bulldogs without ever claiming the big prize.
The Suns were seen as ready-made contenders just needing an experienced head like Eade to sheer the ship.
Replacing Guy McKenna, Eade would've been rubbing his hands together at the prospect of coaching the likes of Gary Ablett, Harley Bennell, Tom Lynch, Dion Prestia, Charlie Dixon and Jaeger O'Meara, and maybe securing that elusive flag.
Buckley, meanwhile, had the might and power of arguably the country's biggest sporting club behind him.
He had guided them into consecutive finals series in his first two years after replacing Mick Malthouse and was putting his own stamp on the side.
Now, however, no two coaches would be under as much pressure after two rounds of the season as Eade and Buckley, both of whom come off contract in October.
Eade has overseen just 10 wins from 46 games in charge of the Suns - and three in the past 21 - their latest defeat arguably the worst in the club's short history.
If being jumped by the Lions in the QClash wasn't bad enough, they capitulated against the side they have been continually measured up against, the Giants.
Being flogged by 100 points was understandable in year one - there were three - but not year seven, especially by a fellow expansion team.
Eade likened some of his players to sheep. They are more akin to lambs to the slaughter.
Injuries can't be used as an excuse anymore. Michael Rischitelli (knee), Pearce Hanley (family), Sam Day (hip) were unavailable, but that's it.
The Giants were missing Brett Deledio, Lachie Whitfield, Jon Patton and Stephen Coniglio, among others.
Despite having a year less in the competition, the Giants were more advanced on Saturday in terms of average age (25.3 years to 23.6) and games played (98.4 to 67.5), but it should not have equated to a 102-point margin.
You couldn't help wonder what McKenna - now Essendon assistant - was thinking at the Gabba.
Eade, 59, addressed his contract in February saying any extension would "depend on results".
To rub salt into Eade's wounds, a finally fit O'Meara, who he never got the chance to coach in a game, grabs 36 touches for Hawthorn.
Buckley's Magpies have spent three seasons out of the finals and look to be getting further and further away from a return.
They've now won two of their past nine games, the most recent coming against Eade's Suns in round 22 last year.
Buckley said himself last August if the Magpies failed to make finals in 2017 "there's no way" he would coaching in 2018.
God may be there to save the Queen but not even Collingwood president Eddie McGuire will save Buckley if the club's downward spiral continues.
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