120 Years of Collingwood: Part 4 – Players 21-30

Welcome to part four of the 120 Years of Collingwood. In this part we now start to unearth some Team of the Century players, a few stars of yesteryear and a player who is much more reknowned for his coaching capabilities. So here is the players ranked 31-40 of all time for the Collingwood Football Club.

30. Ted Rowell (1901-03, 1906-15) 189 Games, 175 Goals [3 Premierships, 1 Coleman*, 1 COTC*]

Ted Rowell was a Centre Half Forward who played in three premierships and was a crucial part of the Collingwood lineup in the early 20th century. In 1902 he was awarded the ‘Champion of the Colony’ award and also topped the goal kicking with Essendon’s Albert Thurgood. He was a part of a side that contained the Lockwood’s, Leach’s, Dick Condon, Bill Proudfoot, Archie Smith, Lardie Tulloch and George Angus, all of whom were considered very good players. Rowell however was known for his athleticism and ability to kick the ball long, which in those days was about 30 metres. He left in 1904 to play in Western Australia but returned in 1906 to play in the 1910 Premiership and become a triple premiership player.

 

29. Dick Condon (1897-1900, 1902-06) 149 Games, 101 Goals [3 Premierships, 1 COTC*, 2 Yr Captain]

Richard ‘Dick’ Condon was an onballer who was a crucial part of the innaugral Collingwood team. He played in the 1896 VFA Premiership before becoming a VFL player for a few years. He was rated by innaugral Collingwood captain Bill Strickland and legendary coach Jock McHale as the greatest player they had seen, which included the machine team of the 30s. However he was seen as a trouble maker, fronting the board on numerous occasions from disobeying captain’s orders, abusing an umpire and walking off the field due to poor umpiring. Most of these occurred while he was captain in 1900 which made it all the worse. However breaking point came late in 1900 when he abused an umpire by the name of Ivo Crapp, saying “Your girls’ a bloody whore”, which saw him suspended from the league. He was allowed to play again in 1902 where he managed two premierships and while he never quite got everything he wanted, he still finished with three premierships and a Champion of the Colony award.

 

28. Albert Pannam (1933-43, 1945) 181 Games, 453 Goals [2 Premierships, 1 B&F, 1 Yr Captain]

Alby Pannam was a goal kicking machine that was seemingly forced to play second fiddle to Gordon Coventry, and then as Coventry retired, found himself second fiddle to Ron Todd, another goal scoring machine. Pannam played in two premierships in a team littered with stars with the 1935 team containing names such as Dibbs, Rumney, Regan, Froude, Whelan, Kyne, Doherty, Coventry, Collier and Bowyer which made his achievement that much better. A year later he was considered one of the best in the 1936 Grand Final, gathering 30 possessions and kicking five goals from the forward pocket. Despite only being small, Pannam managed 45 goals for the year, finishing behind only Gordon Coventry who had retired after his suspension. He also managed a Copeland Trophy in his time at the Pies.

 

27. Les Hughes (1908-1922) 225 Games, 175 Goals [3 Premierships]

Les Hughes played until the ripe old age of 38 after not debuting until the age of 24. In his time at the Pies he was the durable ruckman who became a triple premiership player. At just 188cm, he was considered a giant of the era and he became reknowned for his strong marking and accurate ruck taps. 1919 was arguably his best season, at the age of 35. He managed to boot six goals in a game against Melbourne and managed every game in that season. Had he started at the age of 18, we could have been talking about games record holder for a number of years as he could have gone on to well past 300 given his durability.

 

26. Charlie Dibbs (1924-1935) 216 Games, 1 Goal [5 Premierships]

Charlie Dibbs is a man who is often overlooked when discussing the machine team of the 1920s. With Albert Collier the key man down back, Syd Coventry in the ruck, Harry Collier in the middle and Gordon Coventry up forward, many people forget about the man who held down the full back position throughout those years, and achieved five premierships in that time. For use of a better reference, Dibbs could be seen as the ‘Machine team’s’ Presti’ who preferred to punch rather than mark and always had opposition forwards on a right leash. He is regarded as one of the most consistent Collingwood players, rarely beaten down back and was rewarded in 1928 with a Victorian jumper. Had he continued past the 1935 season, he may well have had a sixth premiership. But, the main who he groomed in 1935 ended up becoming the Team of the Century full back, Jack Regan, who in all probability took what would have otherwise been Dibbs’ spot.

 

25. Peter Moore (1974-1982) 172 Games, 193 Goals [2 B&F, 1 Brownlow, 2 Yr Captain]

Peter Moore was considered a fantastic ruckman who worked in tandem with Len Thompson in the twilight years of Thompson’s career. He made his debut in 1974 and by 1979 had won his first Brownlow Medal. Unfortunately for Moore, it was Thompson who stopped him getting Team of the Century honours, but he was inducted into the Collingwood Hall of Fame shortly before being transferred to Melbourne in 1983. After captaining the Pies in 1981-82, Moore’s form dropped off and after transferring to Melbourne, won another Brownlow in 1984, only the fourth man to do so. If this top 120 players was based on his overall career, Moore would be undoubtedly higher, but given the focus on his Collingwood career, there are 24 individuals above him.

 

24. Des Fothergill (1937-40, 1945-47) 111 Games, 337 Goals [3 B&F, 1 Coleman*, 1 Brownlow*)

Des Fothergill played the least games of any player in the top 30 and of anyone in the Team of the Century. In fact he only played six seasons. In his first four, he managed three Best & Fairests including in his debut season, aged only 17. Along with the Best & Fairest in 1937, he won the club’s highest goal kicker award, with 56 goals. He won the Brownlow Medal in his fourth season at the age of 20 and then controversially joined Williamstown with Ron Todd despite not being given clearance by the VFL. He returned in 1945 and despite being older and slower with injury problems, he managed to win the equivalent of a Coleman Medal in 1946, aged 26. He retired a season later due to a leg injury and moved to England to play country cricket. Despite only playing 111 games, he was named in the Team of the Century and is considered a Collingwood legend.

 

23. Thorold Merrett (1950-1960) 180 Games, 148 Goals [2 Premierships, 2 Best & Fairests]

Thorold Merrett was known as a skilful winger who had a deadly left foot which hit targets on a regular basis. In the mid 1950’s, coach Phonse Kyne moved him onto the ball with stints up forward which saw him win back-to-back Copeland Trophy’s in 1958-59. He managed to play in both the 1953 and 1958 premierships, but broke his leg in 1960, which forced him to retire at the age of 26. The 1958 Grand Final, he along with captain Murray Weideman were chaired off by the players, seen as the key orchestrators behind the win. In a team that had plenty of stars, Merrett will be remembered as one of the true champions of the Collingwood Football Club.

 

22. Des Tuddenham (1962-71, 76-77) 182 Games, 251 Goals [1 B&F, 5 Yr Captain]

Des Tuddenham could have been remembered as one of the greatest Collingwood players to grace the field. Unfortunately a pay dispute in 1970 saw him stood down as captain and forced to leave for Essendon where he captain coached for three years before returning to the Pies for another two. In his first stint at the Pies he was seen as a fearless half forward who won the Copeland Trophy in just his second season at the club, and became runner up in 1965-66 and 1971. He captained the club from 1966-69 and 1976 but was still tarnished by many Pie supporters over the 1970 pay dispute. While playing 69 games for the Bombers, Tuddenham will be remembered for wearing the St. Kilda jumper after the 1966 flag in which he gave his to opposing skipper Darryl Baldock.

 

21. Jock McHale (1903-18, 1920) 261 Games, 18 Goals [2 Premierships, 2 Yrs Captain]

Jock McHale will always be remembered as the greatest coach in VFL history. He won eight flags including four in a row with the ‘Machine team’ of the 1920’s. But many people forget that he was actually a star player. Over the course of 17 years he played for the Pies as a tough-as-nails centre man after moving from the half back flank. His uncanny knowledge for reading-the-play was unprecedented for his era and he was quick, fit and super competitive. He won premierships as a player in 1910 and 1917 then went on to become the coaching legend, taking them to a further eight flags as coach, taking his total involvement to ten of the 15 that Collingwood has won over time. So while many remember McHale the coach, spare a thought for McHale the player, who was a champion in his own right.

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