A shared love of COVID conspiracies has reportedly reunited former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley with current Kangaroos player Jaidyn Stephenson. The pair had reportedly been estranged ever since Stephenson’s messy exit from Collingwood at the end of the last season, but now they have some common ground on which to bond over.

Stephenson made news late last week after questioning the legitimacy of the current global pandemic, suggesting it was mostly just a media beat up. It was an odd move from a player whose intellect had previously rationalised the idea of not only betting on a game he was playing in, but then bragging about his punting exploits in front of senior teammates.

Across town, Buckley made his own headlines over the weekend. Seemingly released from the shackles of an AFL club’s stringent social media policy, the prominent football identity put the proverbial lab coat on to question the actual contagiousness of COVID. The reaction on social media was predictably swift, leading Buckley to respond with a lukewarm attempt at a retraction.

While both football identities have now removed the buzz term “thought leadership” from their public speaking promos, their shared open-mindedness has allegedly helped mend some of the bridges burnt during last year’s uncomfortable salary cap squeeze. An inside source claims the pair had exchanged text messages over the weekend, and made tentative plans to catch up for coffee once Melbourne’s current lockdown is lifted.