Deledio Don’t Leave!

How the sales pitch from Gale and Hardwick might have gone down.

Hardwick: Brett, look you’re a really important part of the side, we’re desperate to keep you.

Gale: Whatever GWS is offering you, we’ll match it. We’ve got loads of space in our cap, and we’ll throw in life membership.

Deledio: You already gave me life membership.

Gale: Dammit. Well I’ll get Kevin Bartlett to make sure you get All-Australian this year.

Hardwick: And we’ll go 10% over whatever GWS if offering you. Our backline can take a pay-cut.

Deledio: To be honest guys I don’t want to go to GWS, it’s not really about money. I’ve played 150 games and no finals yet. I want to be part of a successful side.

Hardwick: Hmmm fair enough. I’ll call Clarkson and work out a trade, I fancy Cyril.

Gale: Dimma, shut-up! Look Lids we know you want to play finals but it’s all going to be ok. There are 18 teams now, and soon there’ll be a final 9, which is perfect for us. Not to mention we’re only 3 years into our 5-year plan.

Deledio: I’m sick of 5-year plans. Frawley’s and Wallace’s failed and now we’ve got Hardwick’s one. I’m not sure they can work.

Hardwick: Don’t worry Brett, we know it’s frustrating. But the truth is…We’ve got a secret weapon up our sleeve. We’re trying not to let this out yet so keep it in the vault. Don’t tell Hutchy or Caro.

Gale: We’re making a new plan bigger and better than ever. In 15 years we’re going to have 150,000 members, an $8 million budget surplus, 5 Brownlow medals, 3 new pubs filled with pokies, 12 All-Australians, 15 finals appearances, 7 premierships, AND… there will be free Red Bull for the players after winning games.

Hardwick: It’s all part of our secret 15-year plan; ‘Richmond 2030’.

Deledio:  *Sighs* I’m just not sure if that’s realistic guys. Look all I really want is a big medal around my neck, that’s all I’m playing for.

Gale: The Brownlow? It’s going to be a great place to get a Brownlow mate, Cotchin and Dusty are the only guys who can take any votes off you. It’ll be just like Brisbane 10 years ago with Black, Vossy, and Aker.

Deledio: No, no I don’t care about the Brownlow! I’m talking about a premiership. I was really hoping I could be captain too. After Newman leaves I think I could step up to that role.

Hardwick: Hmmm. The thing is Trent Cotchin is really…

Deledio: Oh Cotchin this, Cotchin that. He’s only 21 and I’ve won two B&F’s and should’ve been All-Australian last year. I’m the elder statesman and I’ve got leadership quality.

Hardwick: Ok… ok… we’ll think about the captaincy.

Gale: Think about loyalty Lids. Remember how proud you were to be drafted and how grateful you were when the club picked you up?

Deledio: Not really, any club would’ve taken me.

Hardwick: Ok well at least… ummmm….ummmm… At least we have an awesome theme song!!

Deledio: Yeah but we never freakin sing it! Screw this I’m leaving.

Hardwick: Uh… wait a second Brett. You’re not going anywhere.

Deledio: Excuse me?

Hardwick: You’re only a ‘Restricted Free Agent’. For two more years we can just match any offer and you have to stay.

Deledio: Oh for f***s sake. So I’m stuck here for another 2 years!?

Gale:  *Hands Deledio the pen* Sign here mate.

Big Ins but Goodes Gone for Swans

The Sydney Swans will welcome back Josh Kennedy, Ryan O’Keefe, Shane Mumford and Gary Rohan, but will be without dual Brownlow Medalist Adam Goodes for their round 2 NAB Cup Clash with North Melbourne.

Goodes was charged with engaging in rough conduct in the game against Geelong, for sliding feet-first into the Cats’ Taylor Hunt during the second game of the first round of the NAB Cup.

Assessed as ‘reckless’ and ‘low impact’ – the charge carried a 125-point penalty, which along with his existing 66 carry-over points, saw 191 penalty points for Goodes, which was reduced to 143.25 with an early guilty plea and leaves him still eligible for the Brownlow.

While they will be missing Goodes, Sydney welcome back imposing ruckman Shane Mumford, with Gary Rohan and Ryan O’Keefe both recovered from groin injuries and set to play. Coach John Longmire revealed “Josh Kennedy was about a week short in his preparation and will be fine this week”.

The quartet return to a Swans side who were the highest scoring in round one of the NAB Cup with their five goal thumping of St Kilda in their opening match. They take on North Melbourne at Bruce Perser Reserve, Kellyville.

Weak at the Knees

It has been a horror run for knee injuries this pre-season, and that was only after Round 1 of the NAB Cup.

Some have come in-game, others before the first ball-up has even been contested.

By my count, we have seen 3 ACL tears and 2 isolated MCL tears this pre-season. If you add to this Max Gawn’s ACL rupture in December, that makes 4 ACL tears since Geelong held the cup aloft in October.

That’s an alarming number.

AFL data reveals that for every club in the competition, there are 0.7 ACL ruptures each season. With the addition of GWS, that means we might reasonably expect 13 ACL tears in season 2012. Does that mean that we’re “4 down, 9 to go”? It seems likely.

Between 2001 and 2010, with 16 teams in the competition, there were between 8 and 14 ACL injuries every year. That represents quite a consistent rate and one that has shown no evidence of improving.

While the debates about playing surfaces, bench rotations, interchange size and the controversial LARS surgery have raged, there have been no significant inroads into the rate and recovery of ACL injuries in AFL football.

A ruptured ACL can happen to anyone, from professional athlete to professional journalist. Many people have had experience with this injury, and many more have held strong opinions.

But what is the anterior cruciate ligament? What makes it so important? How does it rupture? How is it diagnosed? How is it fixed? In the next few weeks, we’re going to bring you the definitive guide to the ACL.

Part 1: What is the ACL and why does it break?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a surprisingly unnecessary ligament for everyday life. The knee joint is quite an unstable joint and needs all the stabilisation it can get, but very little of this comes from the ACL.

The quadriceps muscles in the front of the thigh are the most important muscles for keeping the knee stable. As some of you may have experienced, after rupturing an ACL these muscles tend to tighten to keep the knee stable.

The ACL seems to be doing very little, until you start running.

The ACL has several functions, the main one being to make the knee joint flex. When the muscles that flex the knee contract, they pull on the thigh bone (femur) and calf bone (tibia).

Without the ACL, this would mean that the thigh would move backwards on the calf. The ACL holds these bones in place and converts this motion into a rolling motion — instead of falling backwards, the knee bends.

Remove the ACL and the knee simply doesn’t bend properly. The quadriceps can stabilise the knee as much as they want, it still won’t work the way it should and bending will always feels unstable.

Without an ACL: the femur falls back when trying to bend the knee
Without an ACL: the femur falls back when trying to bend the knee

With an ACL: the femur rotates on the tibia when bending
With an ACL (red): the femur rotates on the tibia when bending

The ACL stops backwards movement of the thigh, while its counterpart, the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) stops backwards movement of the calf. But why don’t we see so many PCL injuries? Two reasons come to mind: one, the PCL is stronger, and two, the mechanism of ACL injury is much more common.

So, the ACL is important, not because the knee is unstable and you cannot walk without it, but because the knee joint just doesn’t work the way it’s meant to. This failure for the knee joint to pivot the way it should is not 100% vital for everyday life, but becomes exceedingly apparent when trying to play sport.

Why it is injured comes down to the mechanism, which we will explore in the next instalment.

 

120 Years of Collingwood: Part 7 – Players 1-5

Welcome to the final part in the seven-part series of 120 Years of Collingwood. Here we meet our top five players who are all champions in their own right. Any one of them could have been justified in being number one, but there can only be one, so here are my choices, starting at number five:

5. Syd Coventry (1922-1934) 227 Games, 62 Goals [4 Premierships, 2 B&F, 1 Brownlow, 8 Yr Captain]

Syd Coventry is one of those rare players who was lucky enough to captain a club to four premierships, while winning a couple of best and fairest and a Brownlow in the meantime.

In 1921, Syd Coventry was playing in Tasmania before St. Kilda agreed to sign the tough ruckman. However once he reached the mainland, brother Gordon convinced him to join the Pies, and what a telling decision that was.

Syd took over the role of captain in 1927 from Charlie Tyson with much uproar as Tyson had been a much loved captain at the club. Coventry soon had the side functioning well and won the 1927 Brownlow medal and his first Copeland Trophy.

He featured in all four of the Pies’ premierships during the ‘Machine’ era, playing in the ruck and in defence, despite only standing 180cm tall. He captained them right up until his retirement in 1934 where the Magpies allowed him to coach Footscray for two seasons, until he came back as an administrator. While he missed out on the back-to-back premierships in the 1930s, Syd Coventry will go down in history as the man who led the ‘Machine’.

 

4. Len Thompson (1965-1978) 268 Games, 217 Goals [5 B&F, 1 Brownlow, 1 Yr Captain]

Len Thompson is remembered as the bullocking ruckman who was a star player during the unlucky Collingwood years. He played over 250 games and kicked over 200 goals. In that time he won five Copeland Trophies, a record until Nathan Buckley came around, and also won a Brownlow.

In 1970 both he and Tuddenham complained about the unfair pay. Tuddenham left the club to return a few years later, but Thompson stayed but lost his role as vice-captain. In 1972 he won his third Copeland Trophy and the Brownlow Medal.

He won his fourth in 1973 and fifth in 1977 before being rewarded with the captaincy in 1978. Thompson retired in 1978 only to join South Melbourne in 1979 and then Fitzroy in 1980, without much success.

He was named as ruck in the Team of the Century and is a part of the AFL Hall of Fame which he was inducted into in 1998.

 

3. Harry Collier (1926-1940) 253 Games, 299 Goals [6 Premierships, 2 B&F, 1 Brownlow, 5 Yr Captain]

Harry Collier was a tough on-baller who like his brother Albert, was lucky enough to play in six premierships. Collier was arguably the best small of the ‘Machine’ era, winning Copeland Trophies in 1928 and 1930, in which the latter, he also collected the Brownlow Medal.

When Syd Coventry retired in 1934, Harry Collier took the reins, captaining the club to back-to-back premierships in his first two years. He captained until 1939 and retired in 1940 after only playing one game that season.

Collier was famously known as the key man behind Gordon Coventry’s 1299 goals, feeding it down his throat time and time again. Over his career, Collier managed 12 games with Victoria and became a Collingwood Team of the Century member.

An interesting aside was the 1930 Brownlow Medal in which he tied with two other players, but didn’t receive it until 1989 due to there being no procedure in place for tied Brownlow Medal counts. Adding to the drama, one game listed a Brownlow vote as “Collier” and with both Harry and Albert playing that day, it was unknown which player they were referring to and therefore what could have been the winning vote, wasn’t counted.

 

2. Nathan Buckley (1994-2007) 260 Games, 263 Goals [6 B&F, 1 Brownlow, 9 Yr Captain]

Nathan Buckley is a familiar name for all current footy followers. After beginning his career with Brisbane in 1993 and winning the Rising Star Award, Buckley controversially crossed to the Pies, a deal which had been all but done 12 months earlier.

It was clear from the start of his career Buckley was going to be an elite player. In 1996, despite only playing three seasons with the Pies, he was named in Collingwood’s Team of the Century on the half back flank.

Over the years he developed into an elite midfielder and player who could go forward and cause havoc for any defence. Buckley won a record six Copeland Trophies, overtaking Len Thompson’s previous record.

After so many near misses on Brownlow night, Buckley finally claimed a Brownlow Medal in 2003, tying with Adam Goodes and Mark Ricciuto. While having the affectionate name of ‘FIGJAM’, Buckley was seen as an unrelenting customer who always got the best out of himself and others.

After a bout of injuries over the last few years of his career, including a hamstring tear in his final game (a Preliminary final), he retired in 2007. After taking up a media role for a few years, he joined the Pies’ coaching panel, as an assistant coach to Mick Malthouse, eventually taking over the role for the 2012 season.

Buckley was a champion player who along with James Hird and Michael Voss, was one of the best for his era.

 

1. Gordon Coventry (1920-1937) 306 Games, 1299 Goals [5 Premierships, 6 Colemans*]

Gordon Coventry is my number one pick for Collingwood’s top player over the 120 Years of Collingwood.

While you could have raffled any one of the top eight players, Coventry gets the nod for sheer statistics in front of goal. In his day when goals were scarce and rules were thrown out the window, Coventry managed to snare 1299 goals over an 18-year career which netted him five premierships and saw him top the league goal kicking six times.

After joining the Pies in 1920, he became the team’s full forward, booting a bag of goals on a regular basis. He became the first player to kick 100 goals in a season, first player to 300 games and the first to kick 1000 goals.

He also led Collingwood’s goal kicking every year from 1922-1937, another record at the club. Throw in the 13 consecutive seasons of 50 goals or more and he is the complete full forward.

During the ‘Machine’ era, he became feared from opposition teams, destroying them week in, week out. Even when the weather was shocking such as the 1927 Grand Final when only three goals were kicked, he booted two of them.

A year later he broke and currently holds the record, with Gary Ablett Snr. for the most goals in a Grand Final, when he booted nine goals against Richmond.

1929 saw Coventry boot 124 goals, the first time a player had done so, booting five goals or more on twelve occasions, including a bout of 16 goals against Hawthorn.

Coventry backed up in 1930 with a casual 118 goals, with another five or more goals on twelve occasions, which included 17 goals against Fitzroy, and seven goals in the Grand Final against Geelong.

His career continued until 1927 when he was reported for retaliating to Richmond’s full back Joe Murdoch after he continued to target a bunch of painful boils on the back of Coventry’s neck.

Despite playing 280 games without a blemish, Coventry was suspended for the rest of the season, eight matches and duly retired. Despite the way his career ended, Coventry will still be known as the greatest goal kicker in Collingwood’s history.

Grinners and Moaners – NAB Cup First Round Second Weekend Edition

Grinners

Port Adelaide
They should have really knocked off the Blues by more, and only got beaten by the last kick against the Crows.

However, it wasn’t just that they looked very good, but it was the manner of victory. Port had two players get donuts in the Carlton game, and two in the Adelaide game. If they can notch the extra performance out of the lower end, we could possibly see a better Power outfit in 2012.

Sydney
Everyone in sync. Yes, you lost to the reigning premiers, but you also belted a side who was in two Grand Finals in 2010 and is looking for a last-chance hurrah in 2012. And you’re moving into the smokies column with that sort of victory.

Geelong
It’s going to be a quality season of managing the veterans, starting with the NAB Cup. But many of the kids are getting a good chance, and once again Chris Scott will be rotating the youth through with the veterans to guarantee their chances in September.

Adelaide
Most of a strong side out on the park meant Adelaide walked away as one of only three sides after the first round with the double win. Good start.

Aaron Hall
Having been at Metricon on Saturday night, your writer can vouch for him being absolutely sensational. Damaging on every touch.

Moaners

St Kilda
Full-strength squad? And lose by 5 goals in the opening match? To paraphrase a certain elderly Simpsons character, that’s a paddlin’.

Mitch Morton
A good game in an easy win, but a genuine donut in a close loss. Downhill skier is appropriate.

Carlton
What was concerning about the losses, despite the fact that it is the NAB, was the quality of the sides on the park that Carlton lost with. There were certainly 16 or so players in each match who would be looking to be in their best 22 come round 1, and yet they were defeated by sides that finished 16th and 14th in the AFL in 2011.

Richard Tambling
Handed the sub vest twice in the NAB games. Uh oh.

Jonathan Brown
Expecting him to be cited heavily – off the ball, high contact against Jared Rivers. The big man could be looking at a fair whack.

NAB Cup Week 2 Review: Crows go undefeated under new coach

Adelaide is loving its new-found freedom under first-year coach Brenton Sanderson after it went undefeated in today’s Round 1 pool matches against Carlton and Port Adelaide.

The Crows join Collingwood and West Coast as the only teams to go 2-0 in the NAB Cup, and employed a tenacious running style of footy that overpowered their opponents.

Port finished with one victory while a young Blues outfit went winless over their two matches.

GAME 1 – CARLTON VS PORT ADELAIDE
The weather was hot and so were the Power in the first of the afternoon’s matches, with Port streaking away to a 17-point lead before holding off a late Carlton comeback to run out winners by six points.

Port was surprisingly dominant in the first half, with new arrival Brad Ebert finding a lot of the footy and John Butcher increasingly becoming the main go-to man inside 50.

The Power kicked the first two goals of the match and they could have had three more if it wasn’t for the goalpost, which denied the home side three times in the opening half alone.

As the game wore on it became more and more bizarre, with goal-line video evidence elected not be used in a controversial situation, which was followed minutes later by a farcical supergoal from Matthew Kreuzer after the siren.

For all of Port Adelaide’s dominance they went into the half-time break only four points up due to two contentious umpiring decisions.

It was Carlton who came out firing in the second half, and despite missing star midfielders Chris Judd and Marc Murphy, the Blues put down the pedal through some of their less experienced players.

Kane Lucas was a ball magnet in the middle and kicked a goal of his own to put Carlton into the lead, and former Tiger Andrew Collins added to the margin moments later to extend the buffer to seven points.

Yet Port Adelaide’s tenacity shone through and it clawed its way back through Daniel Stewart and Kane Cornes before hyped youngster Chad Wingard closed the game out in the dying minutes.

Talking points:
• Port’s first-half dominance and its subsequent ability to come from behind and win in the second.
• The umpires having a massive influence on the game with controversial goal decisions.
• Goal-line video review technology – if it’s there to be used, why not use it?

GAME 2 – ADELAIDE VS CARLTON
Once again Carlton went down by under two goals, and this time it was Adelaide who walked away victors.

The Blues were bolstered by the inclusion of Murphy after he was rested for the first match, but even he couldn’t help as Adelaide exposed Carlton’s kids.

In a very high-scoring match given the condensed halves (which were shortened even more due to the heat), the lead changed multiple times but it was Crows bad boy Taylor Walker who put the finishing touches on the match with a goal 90 seconds out from the final siren.

Andrew Carrazzo and Jeff Garlett were finding a fair bit of the ball in the early stages of the match, and the no-break turnaround seemed to have no impact on the Blues who were running free.

However, the Crows were able to convert their pressure to the scoreboard through Tom Lynch, who kicked his first goal for his new club off a pinpoint pass from Jared Petrenko.

Soon after, Walker booted a supergoal on the run and Crows fans were dreaming of a fit and firing “Tex” in the regular season.

The Crows led by nine points at the break, but it was Carlton who kicked the first of the second half. Young father-son pick Dylan Buckley joined the “first kick, first goal” club and reduced the margin to just three points.

As the game went on the lead swayed, and versatile Blue Bret Thornton had a chance to possibly seal the game for his side but stabbed at the kick and registered only a minor score.

Talking points:
• The Blues finish winless – is there reason to be worried?
• Taylor Walker – how influential can he be in the regular season?
• Both teams wearing their traditional guernseys without having to revert to gimmicky clash alternatives, a welcome sight in this day and age.

GAME 3 – PORT ADELAIDE VS ADELAIDE
Adelaide backed up its earlier win over the Blues with a victory by the slenderest of margins in the “mini showdown”.

Both sides kicked two early goals; Port through marking forward Jay Schulz and the Crows via youngsters Rory Sloane and Tim McIntyre.

Amazingly, from that moment on, not a single major was kicked for the rest of the match during 20 minutes of game time.

Rain began to teem down despite the hot conditions, and young Power ruckman Jarrad Redden had no problem adapting with some promising tap work and marking.

The video review was finally called into action during the second half, where a behind to Port Adelaide was nulled after the evidence showed that the footy took a deflection off the point post.

The tiredness in the players was clearly visible and that equated to scrappy footy, with both teams searching for the winning goal that never came.

Instead, it was Brent Reilly’s behind that tipped the game in Adelaide’s favour.

Ben Jacobs committed a crime he’d rather forget when in Port’s last roll of the dice, he controversially stepped on the line kicking out from full-back to yield a ball-up.

Talking points:
• Rory Sloane – the gutsy young midfielder showed experience beyond his age and is an exciting prospect for the future
• Hamish Hartlett showed how influential and classy he can be when fit
• Brenton Sanderson stamped his authority on the Crows side with great results.

120 Years of Collingwood: Part 6 – Players 6-10

Welcome to Part 6 of 120 Years of Collingwood. Today’s part reveals the lower half of the top ten players. We have 14 Premierships, 11 Copeland Trophies, eight goal-kicking awards and three Champions of the Colony/Brownlow Medals between the five players. It will cause controversy as some are rated higher, but these are my 6-10.

10. Jack Regan (1930-41, 1943, 1946) 196 Games, 3 Goals [2 Premierships, 1 B&F, 3 Yr Captain]

Jack Regan is regarded as the greatest full-back in Collingwood’s history and is considered by many as equal to Stephen Silvagni. He came to Collingwood in 1930 but only played four games in his debut year as Charlie Dibbs and Albert Collier held down key defensive posts. He began as a forward, but after switching to defence, never moved.

He was seen as quick, skilful and graceful and as opposed to Dibbs, preferred marking the ball to punching it. Regan won the 1936 Copeland Trophy and more importantly dominated Bob Pratt in the semi-final and Grand Final, holding him to just four goals total for those games.

He was considered a lynchpin in the defence and was made captain in 1940. While his career was interrupted by war service, he will still be remembered as one of the greats, not only at Collingwood, but in the VFL as well.

 

9. Phonse Kyne (1934-44, 1946-50) 245 Games, 237 Goals [2 Premierships, 3 B&F, 4 Yr Captain]

Phonse Kyne is best remembered as the coach who followed on from McHale, giving Collingwood the 1953 and 1958 Premierships. But, like McHale, he was also a super player who notched up almost 250 games at Centre Half Forward and making the Team of the Century.

His career began in 1934 and by his third season he was a dual premiership player. In 1936 he finished third in the Copeland Trophy and earned a place for Victoria. While already a super player, it was to be the 1940s which would place Kyne under the ‘elite’ bracket of players to have ever played the game. He was handed the captaincy in 1942 before heading to war.

He returned in 1946, was given the captaincy again and proceeded to win three consecutive Copeland Trophies – the first Collingwood player to do so. In 1950, Kyne became the captain-coach, before becoming the non-playing coach from 1951 till 1963. In that time he won two premierships as coach and became an immortal Collingwood legend.

 

8. Dick Lee (1906-1922) 230 Games, 707 Goals [3 Premierships, 8 Colemans*, 2 COTC*, 2 Yr Captain]

Dick Lee was the champion player of the early 20th Century, topping the goal kicking eight times and winning the Champion of the Colony twice. From 1906-1910 he outscored everyone else and was seen as the most dangerous forward who could do just about anything. He had great goal sense, could read the play superbly and was a strong mark with a huge leap.

In the premiership year of 1910, Lee booted a record 58 goals including six on two occasions. From 1914-17, Lee won a further four consecutive league goal kicking awards, and began to show courage, continually playing injured.

After missing the first two finals in 1917, Lee came into the side for the Grand Final completely unfit, only to boot four goals and help lead the side to victory. While he missed most of 1918 with the knee injury which plagued him late the previous season, he bounced back in 1919 to become a triple premiership player and again top the team’s goal kicker, including booting twenty goals in three games in the month of August.

Lee continued to boot goals until 1922, finishing with just over 700; a league record at the time. His best was against University in 1914 where he booted an unbelievable 11 goals. While Dick Lee was a champion in his own right and his own era, it proved impossible to try and split hairs with him and the top ten players. Without a doubt, Dick Lee was Collingwood’s second greatest full forward behind Gordon Coventry.

 

7. Bob Rose (1946-1955) 152 Games, 214 Goals [1 Premiership, 4 B&F]

Bob Rose is a tough man to place in Collingwood’s history. Some believe he is Collingwood’s greatest player, others believe he belongs behind the ‘Machine team’s’ best and a few more modern champions. For a man who only played 152 Games, Bob Rose seemed to impress everyone whether he played up forward or in the middle. He was seen as a tough customer who was quick, courageous and highly skilled.

Along with Ted Whitten, he was considered one of the most inspirational people in football. After debuting in 1946, it took Rose just four seasons to claim his first Copeland Trophy. By 1953 he had won four and became a premiership player. That same year he finished runner-up in the Brownlow Medal and continued his good form until 1955 when injuries struck him down. Rose is considered a champion player and was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame, and despite never being awarded the role of captain, he is the centre man in the Collingwood Team of the Century. As an honour to his courageousness, the AFLPA’s most courageous player award is named after him.

 

6. Albert Collier (1925-30, 1933-39) 205 Games, 54 Goals [6 Premierships, 3 B&F, 1 Brownlow]

Albert Collier is the Centre Half Back in Collingwood Team of the Century. As many Collingwood and non-Collingwood fans know, when you talk about the Colliers or Coventrys, you know you are dealing with the cream of the crop. Albert Collier debuted at just 15 years of age, playing at full forward for Collingwood in 1925. 12 months later Gordon Coventry had secured the spot, so Albert settled in defence where he played for the rest of his career, alternating in the ruck.

In 1929 Albert Collier won the Brownlow Medal, Copeland Trophy and played for Victoria at just 20-years-old. Collier was courageous, quick and strong, which made him a fearsome opponent for many key forwards. In 1931, after winning four premierships with the Magpies, he shocked officials by heading to Tasmania to coach.

That only lasted two seasons, with Collier returning in 1933 to win back-to -back Copeland Trophies in 1934-5 and pick up another two premierships by 1936. By the time Albert retired in 1939, he achieved all he could achieve, winning six premierships, three Copeland Trophies and a Brownlow Medal.

Review – NAB Cup: Brisbane, Melbourne, Gold Coast

Match Review – Gold Coast, Brisbaine, Melbourne

Three of the AFL’s youngest teams took to the field at Metricon Stadium for their first public hit out last night, and the driving rain ensured we saw three physical, hard fought contests. Four goals was the most any side could manage under the circumstances, with three points ultimately proving to be the greatest final margin in three closely contested games.

Moist, sticky conditions made it very difficult going for the big men all night, and whilst the fitness and conditioning staff would be happy to get the run in the legs of their players, it was challenging for the coaching staff to look too closely at the skill levels.

Game 1 – Gold Coast v’s Melbourne

Gold Coast 4.2.26 def Melbourne 3.5.23

Game one was by far the highest scoring of the night, with all eyes on Melbourne’s new recruit Mitch Clarke suiting up in the famous number 11. Lining up as the Demon’s deep key forward, Clarke was matched up by former Melbourne defender Matthew Warnock and provided a strong target throughout the match.

After kicking four goals in the Gold Coast’s internal match last week, Bock again started forward and looked dangerous throughout despite not hitting the score board. Up forward for Melbourne it was another veteran who has spent recent seasons in defense, with Aaron Davey showing enough to suggest new coach Mark Neeld may have plans for him to spend considerable time in the forward 50 as the year progresses.

The new rule punishing the last man to kick the ball before it crosses the boundary line was badly exposed in the wet, with players often finding it impossible to hit a target when kicking under pressure.

The first of three close results eventually saw the Suns get over the line by less than a kick, although Melbourne would also have walked away satisfied with the hit out.

 

Best:

For the Suns it was the same old Gary Ablett. Simply a class above, he seamlessly transitioned into wet weather mode, and seemed to gather his 12 disposals with more time and space than any other man on the ground.

Dion Prestia also found plenty of the ball for the Suns, gathering nine possessions in a silky display.

The inside word from Melbourne is that Matthew Bate is near completing the best pre season of his career to date…and it showed. Playing purely as a ball winning midfielder, Bate’s hard running and work rate around the contest saw him collecting 11 possessions, whilst VFL recruit James Magner was also busy with nine.

 

Young-uns:

Aaron Hall certainly caught the eye of the modest crowd with two of Gold Coast’s four goals for the night, showing great pace and reading the play well.

For Melbourne another 21 year old in Magner was the one to watch, with good support from young Josh Tynan who also showed he knows how to find the footy.

 

Unsung Hero:

Karmichael Hunt officially only recorded two disposals for the match, but his work rate, intensity, tackling and pressure when he didn’t have the ball was impressive. On what was a difficult night to begin his transition into the mid field, Hunt showed us early signs that he may just have what it takes.

 

Game 2 – Melbourne v’s Brisbane

Melbourne 2.1.13 def Brisbane 1.4.10

With a 2-1 score line that looked akin to that of an A-League clash, as often happens in the round ball game the better side did not win this contest. Brisbane ended up with a whopping 55 more disposals in the shortened two quarter contest, and held Melbourne scoreless in the first half….yet it was not enough.

Two late goals against the trend of play by Sylvia and then Sellar found Melbourne with an unlikely lead late in the game.

A last ditch effort saw Polkinghorne gathering a James Frawley fumble only ten metres out, yet he was unable to convert what should have been a regulation goal with eight seconds on the clock.

 

 

Best:

Bate continued his impressive work in the midfield collecting another 13 possessions, and clearly ran out the match stronger than anyone in an impressive display of endurance.

Moloney was providing a strong body over the contest, new co-captain Jack Grimes was the Dee’s best in the second half, and Jeremy Howe put in another put in another solid performance.

For the Gold Coast Matt McGuire kept Mitch Clarke to zero possessions whilst gathering ten of his own, and Ash McGrath provided plenty of run coming out of defense.

 

Young-uns:

Thomas Couch, son of 1989 Brownlow medallist Paul, showed a desire to get involved in the physical side of the contest from the first bounce, and adapted well to the conditions gathering six kicks.

Ryan Lester was Brisbane’s most impressive youngster, with 12 disposals for the evening. Lester played the first three games of the 2011 season and showed some great signs until a stress injury to his foot sidelined him for the remainder of the year, and his form against the Demons indicated that he is every chance to become a regular for the Lions in 2012.

Elliott Yeo also found plenty of the ball with 13 possessions, and showed plenty of poise in mostly selecting the correct option when under pressure.

 

Unsung Hero:

Nathan Jones’s work around the contest was paramount to keeping Melbourne in the game. Rarely beaten, his physical presence will be much more valuable to the Demon’s fortunes this year than the stats sheets will ever indicate.

 

Game 3 – Brisbane v’s Gold Coast

Brisbane 2.6.18 def Gold Coast 2.4.16

 

Another sub-tropical deluge during the early stages of this game ensured yet another grinding, slog of a contest. Karmichael Hunt again starting in the middle and showed signs of adapting well.

Dixon and Bock both provided options in what was usually an open forward 50 for the Gold Coast, whereas at the other end Jonathan Brown was busy, and more importantly looking fit and healthy.

The Gold Coast had their chances to snatch this arm wrestle late in the game, yet inaccuracy ensured the three sides would end the night with a win each.

 

Best:

Harwood and Hawksley were busy between the arcs gathering 12 and 14 possessions respectively, whilst Redden and Rockliff showed they are in line to impress in the midfield yet again for Brisbane.

For the second time on the night Aaron Hall handled the conditions better than most, gathering another nine disposals to go with his earlier impressive performance.

Swallow and Prestia were prominent around the contest, and Bock was busy again up forward, particularly in the first half.

 

Young-uns:

Brisbane would be more than happy with how their on ball division is shaping to look in the coming years, with Bewick, Harwood and Hawksley all playing the conditions intelligently.

For the Gold Coast we’ve all heard plenty about how good Jaeger O’Meara is going to be, and in the second half of this contest he showed us why. Great poise, balance and composure, coupled with pace and most importantly, footy smarts, will be the key elements to his game when he finally is allowed to play AFL in 2013.

Charlie Dixon was easily the best big man in this game, consistently demonstrating that he has a very good footy brain already.

 

Unsung Hero:

Young Josh Green had seven disposals for Brisbane, yet had his hands on the slippery ball far more often than the stats will show. Often throughout the night he bumped, tackled, pressured and denied an opponent the opportunity to take possession when he was not in the box seat, no doubt characteristics that will please coach Michael Voss.

NAB Cup Week 2 Review: Everyone Winners on an Inconsistent Night

NAB Cup LogoThe first triple-header of the season began on a steaming Friday night and with temperatures up around 30⁰C, it proved a difficult first hit-out for the three teams.

St Kilda entered the first encounter with some fresh faces but also without key midfielders Nick Dal Santo and Leigh Montagna. However, most Saints fans would have been delighted to see the return of Lenny Hayes from a knee reconstruction.

Sydney didn’t look too far off full strength with Daniel Hannebery, Shane Mumford, Josh Kennedy and Ben McGlynn their most notable absentees.

Finally, Geelong looked only a shadow of the side that won the last year’s premiership with just 10 players on show from the team that captured the flag in 2011.

Game 1 – Sydney v. St Kilda

Sydney 0.9.5 59 def. St Kilda 0.4.5 29

St Kilda life under new boss Scott Watters began well with the Saints kicking the first goal after some promising forward pressure.

From there, the first half was a very scrappy affair and as a result, there were plenty of long kicks fed into the forward targets of Justin Koschitzke and Sam Reid.

Sydney led by 2 points at the interval and they clicked into gear early in the second period, leaving the Saints grasping for coat tails.

While St Kilda were strong in the clearances, they were not clinical enough with ball in hand. Sydney, on the other hand,  began to move the ball well and kicked multiple goals.

By the time St Kilda scored their first goal of the second half, there were only five minutes left and the Swans already had an unassailable lead.

Best          

Adam Goodes was everywhere and showed that yet again he will be the lynchpin to Sydney’s success this year.

Jarrad McVeigh and Jude Bolton were both also impressive for Sydney at the stoppages while Bolton also managed to even push forward for a goal.

Tom Ledger and Jack Steven both had an impact in the midfield and look a chance to push their way into the St Kilda midfield this season.

Sam Fisher was ever reliable off the half-back line and he had a lot to do with the limited forward momentum St Kilda managed to generate.

Young-uns

Tom Ledger stood out in St Kilda’s midfield, he was at the bottom of the packs and won a lot of contested ball. If he keeps the form up he will put himself in contention for a spot.

Harry Cunningham kicked a couple of late goals, and showed good signs. He was able to read the play and get in the right positions.

Unsung Hero

Justine Koschitzke looked fit and although he didn’t get much of the ball, he provided a target and created a contest, the kind of signs Saints fans want to see from a player who, when up, is pivotal to the team.

Game 2 – Geelong v Sydney

Geelong 0.4.5 29 def. Sydney 0.2.1 13

Fresh from their 2011 premiership Geelong were able to continue their winning form while blooding some new talent.

Geelong were on top from the get-go, Selwood returned to the form that saw him as one of the best players in 2011 and was instrumental in Geelong’s constant forward thrusts.

Geelong also brought a different style, their free flowing, fluid movement was a stark contrast to the scrappy gameplay of the previous fixture and Sydney had no answer.

The scores were level at half-time due to Geelong’s failure to capitalise on their possession. However, they started to find their range in the second half and managed to restrict the Swans to very limited opportunities.

Sydney’s experience kept the scoreline somewhat respectable but the winners never really looked in doubt.

We also saw the use of the video review system on a touched super goal. Regardless of  the dubious result, it certainly showed that video reviews are not meant for our game.

Best

Joel Selwood was unstoppable in the first-half and at the centre of everything Geelong did well.

Simon Hogan also worked hard on the forward flank and put a lot of ball into the forward 50.

Heath Grundy marshalled the backline well and his experience showed under the constant pressure from Geelong.

McVeigh was one of the few Swans who was able to get his hands on the football around the contest.

Young-uns

George Horlin-Smith showed promise as a hard-working forward and was able to gather quite a few possessions.

Marlon Motlop broke the lines and showed plenty of pace, he may be a good replacement for Varco until he recovers from injury.

Unsung Hero

Harry Taylor was as reliable as ever, he was the centerpiece of Geelong’s defence and a couple of spoils and contested marks showed he is still one of the best defenders in the league.

Game 3 – St Kilda v Geelong

St Kilda 1.3.9 36 def. Geelong  1.0.6  15

Scott Watters was able to post his first win as the new St Kilda coach in a very scrappy encounter with Geelong.

The first-half was very congested with inside players such as Clinton Jones, thriving.

Both teams found it difficult to get clear and get a clean kick into the forward line which led to some frustrating inaccuracy from both sides.

Geelong’s free-flowing game was failing them and the Saints took advantage with Jason Gram’s inspirational supergoal just before half-time a timely boost.

The scrappy nature of the game continued into the second half. Stephen Milne was in his element and managed to capitalise on the broken play with two goals.

A late super goal from Geelong’s George Burbury was a mere consolation for the the Cats, who were already well in arrears.

Best

Clinton Jones flourished in the contested conditions and looks to continue to elevate himself to more than just a tagger.

Tom Ledger again showed he is one to watch with some nice work in the packs.

Trent West was promising in the ruck and provided a good target up forward, he looks like he is capable of filling Ottens’ position.

George Horlin-Smith was again impressive on the half-forward line.

Young-uns

Sebastian Ross showed some good signs, and at times exhibited the skills and poise of a quality player.

Arryn Siposs made a case for selection come round one with some good delivery from the half-forward line into the forward 50.

Unsung Hero

Brett Peake is sometimes maligned by St Kida supporters but his work last night displayed that he is still a viable option for the wing/half-forward flank.