120 Years of Collingwood: Part 3 – Players 31-40

Welcome to part three of the 120 Years of Collingwood. It’s starting to get down to the best of the best now as it winds into the top forty. There are some champions from modern time as well those from the machine era. Who could forget those who could have been anything, but due to unfortunate circumstance never fulfilled their potential, they are in here. So sit back and enjoy, here are the players ranked 31-40

40. Barry Price (1966-1975, 1979) 158 Games, 59 Goals [1 B&F]
Barry Price doesn’t have the accolades that many top players have, but for those who witnessed him play in the 1970s understand how important he was to the side that so many times came close to winning a flag. He was the man who continually got the ball to Peter McKenna to help the Pies time and time again come away with a win. If there was a reserves 22 for the Pies team of the century, Price would undoubtedly be in the middle.
39. Rene Kink (1973-1983) 154 Games, 240 Goals
Rene Kink is one of the three players in the top forty without an accolade to his name. Another player of the unlucky 70’s team, he was a bustling Centre Half Forward who was feared by nearly all who opposed him. He managed 240 goals in 154 games, but ultimately didn’t get the premiership he was so dearly craving for.
38. Billy Libbis (1925-1933) 138 Games, 150 Goals [4 Premierships]
Billy Libbis is a bloke who many believed would be considered a champion had it not being a matter of circumstance. Harry Collier rated him as the “best rover in the team” during the machine era, despite he himself winning a Brownlow and two best and fairests. Libbis would unheard of by most people but from all reports, he was a champion player in a champion team, just overshadowed by the likes of the Collier’s and Coventry’s.
36. John Greening (1968-1972, 1974-1976) 107 Games, 70 Goals
John Greening is the toughest man to place in the top 120 because had it not being for his horrific injury, he could have been one of the very best. Coming agonisingly close to winning the 1972 Brownlow Medal before being king hit by John O’Dea, Greening returned for a further three years in 1974, but was never the same. Those who witnessed Greening say he was a 70’s version of Nathan Buckley, but obviously never reached the same heights Buckley did due to that fateful 1972 day.
35. Ron Todd (1935-1939) 76 Games, 327 Goals [2 Premierships, 2 Colemans*]
Ron Todd was a man who left just as quickly as he came. Not before he managed to boot 327 goals in 76 games however. In 1935, he was Centre Half Forward with Gordon Coventry still at Full Forward. It was no wonder the Pies managed to scrape through another couple of premierships with those two up forward. He average 4.3 goals a game and reached his 300th goal in just his 73rd game, equalling Bob Pratt’s record. He also booted 23 goals in the 1939 finals series, a record that was not beaten till Gary Ablett booted 27 in 1989. But in 1940, Todd signed with Williams town, never to play VFL again.
34. Darren Millane (1984-1991) 147 Games, 78 Goals [1 Premiership, 1 B&F]
Darren Millane comes under the same category as John Greening in the sense that his career ended prematurely. After the 1991 season, Millane was killed in a drink driving incident which had the whole club and league in mourning. Before the accident, Millane was the barometer of the 1990 premiership team, playing through injuries to famously hold the ball aloft at the final siren. In his time at the Pies he also won a best and fairest for his tough in-and-under grunt work.
33. Ray Gabelich (1955-60, 1962-66) 160 Games, 43 Goals [1 Premiership, 1 B&F, 1 Yr Captain]
Ray Gabelich was a fearsome ruckman through the 50s and 60s. After crossing over from Western Australia as a Centre Half Forward, he was transformed into a player who won a Copeland Trophy and almost a Brownlow Medal in 1960. He almost helped the Pies to another flag in 1964 when he booted a late goal against Melbourne. However Melbourne replied with one in the dying minutes to hand the Demons their most recent flag.
32. Ricky Barham (1977-1986) 151 Games, 140 Goals
Ricky Barham comes in as the highest Collingwood player not to have a personal accolade to his name. He was a lightning quick winger who many believe could have had a case to argue for team of the century. Unfortunately for him he missed out, but will always be remembered as a dashing winger who excited Collingwood fans throughout his 151 game career.

31. Neil Mann (1945-1956) 179 Games, 155 Goals [1 Premiership, 1 B&F, 2 Yr Captain]
Neil Mann was one of those guys who did it all. He debuted with the Pies in 1945, played in the 1953 premiership, coached the reserves team after retiring in 1956 and then coached the seniors for three years. He won the best and fairest in 1954, and finished runner-up in the Brownlow that year, which showed how important he was to the Pies. In an era when Bob Rose and Lou Richards were wearing the Collingwood jumper, Neil Mann was also there, undoubtedly one of their best players.

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