Welcome to part five of the 120 Years of Collingwood series. Today we are looking at the some of the top 20 Collingwood players of all time. This set of players are mostly Team of the Century players, club legends or goal scoring champions. In Part 6, it will be those players inside the top 10 which will cause a stir, although no doubt many will already have an idea of the top 10.
Billy Picken kicks off the top 20 of the Collingwood top 120 players, as he will be remembered fondly throughout those dark years when losing Grand Finals became a formality. Originally recruited as a forward, he made his name off the half back and played over 200 games for the Magpies winning two best and fairest awards in 1978 and 1983.
He also came third in the Brownlow in 1977, won the Mark of the Year twice in 1974 and 1976, but is best remembered as the half back flank in the Team of the Century. In 1984 he controversially moved to the Swans, but only played 28 games as he was struck down by injury. He returned in 1986 to captain-coach the reserves side.
19. Harold Rumney (1927-1935, 1937) 171 Games, 28 Goals [5 Premierships, 1 B&F]
Harold Rumney was another who was a part of the ‘Machine team’ of the 1920s, playing 171 games over ten seasons. In 1931, he became the first Collingwood player without the surname Coventry or Collier to win the best and fairest. Rumney was a quick half back whose nickname was ‘Dasher’ for his famous runs, but he could also bomb the ball quite a distance.
Very few people know that he actually started his career with Carlton in 1925 where he played two seasons before being transferred to the Magpies. He must have found a four-leaf clover on his travels because he became a part of the 18 and won four premiership medallions in a row.
He won his fifth in 1935 before heading to the VFA to coach Northcote. That only lasted a season as he made a brief return to the Pies before retiring.
18. Marcus Whelan (1933-42, 1946-47) 173 Games, 31 Goals [2 Premierships, 1 B&F, 1 Brownlow]
Marcus Whelan came to the Pies in the mid 1930’s and managed to become a part of the back-to-back premierships in 1935-36. He played 173 games over his career and also won a best and fairest in 1939 before collecting the Brownlow in the same year.
He was a centreman who could drift back to defence. He was seen as the most brilliant of the 1930s players, even better than the likes of Harry Collier, Ron Todd and Jack Regan. He was regarded as having the best skills and composure of the team. For modern day players, he could be seen as the Scott Pendlebury of the 1930s.
Despite only being 175cm, he would regularly out-mark taller opponents and he even spent time in the full back role when Regan was out or up the field. He went to war in 1942, but returned in 1946 to see out the remainder of his career before retiring in 1947.
17. Tony Shaw (1978-1994) 313 Games, 157 Goals [1 Premiership, 2 B&F, 7 Yr Captain]
Tony Shaw never had the skill that many champions possessed, but he made up for it in work ethic and tenacity. He holds the Collingwood games record at 313, which shows his durability throughout his 17 year career at the Pies.
Shaw also is the third longest serving captain behind Buckley and Syd Coventry. In 1984 he won the Copeland Trophy and then did it all again in 1990, winning his second best and fairest as well as the Norm Smith Medal in the Pies’ 48 point win over the Bombers.
After retiring in 1994, he went onto coach the Pies for a few years before getting the sack for winning the club’s second wooden spoon and Mick Malthouse took over.
16. Wayne Richardson (1966-1978) 277 Games, 323 Goals [2 B&F, 5 Yr Captain]
Wayne Richardson came over from Western Australia, but was forced to wait a year before joining the Pies list. South Fremantle refused to give him clearance so he sat out the 1965 season before he could officially become a Magpie. Over the next 13 years, he became a star of the unlucky 60s-70s side, playing 277 games and becoming a well-known midfielder who was uncompromising, but also skilful.
In 1971 he won his first Copeland Trophy, before backing it up three years later. 1971 also marked the year he was appointed captain, serving the role for five years.
He was named on the bench in the Collingwood Team of the Century and represented Victoria five times, an acknowledgement that he was a champion.
15. Gavin Brown (1987-2000) 254 Games, 195 Goals [1 Premiership, 3 B&F, 5 Yr Captain]
Gavin Brown is often forgotten when talking in terms of greats because he came about when the Hawks, Cats and Eagles were dominating the football landscape.
Originally form Templestowe, Brown won the Under-19s premiership in 1986 with Damian Monkhorst, Mick McGuane and Gavin Crosisca, all of whom would go on to become a part of that famous 1990 premiership team. Brown quickly became a tough nut and gained his first Victorian jumper in his debut year. Two years later he won his first Copeland Trophy after finishing third the year before.
In 1990, he became a premiership player after being knocked out by Terry Daniher but crucially returned to the field to kick an important goal.
Brown won his second Copeland Trophy in 1994, tieing with a young Nathan Buckley, while also being handed the captaincy. He handed over the captaincy in 1999 after winning his third best and fairest in 97’ and captaining Victoria. In that series he gained his second EJ Whitten Medal.
During his career he also made the All Australian team twice and gained entry into the Collingwood Hall of Fame and Team of the Century. Brown retired in 2000 but his attitude and toughness lives on inside Victoria Park.
14. Peter McKenna (1965-1975) 180 Games, 838 Goals [1 B&F, 2 Colemans]
Peter McKenna is probably the unluckiest player not to be in the Collingwood Team of the Century. During the 1970’s he booted 838 goals and holds the record for the longest sequence of games where he kicked at least one goal a game: 120. He also became an innovator of the drop punt which at that stage was not commonly used.
With Barry Price and Wayne Richardson feeding the ball down his throat, McKenna made the most of his chances, topping the Collingwood goal kicking leader board eight times, and winning two Coleman Medal’s in the process. In 1970, he won the Copeland Trophy and became a member of the 1972 All Australian team to go with his Coleman Medal. At the time of his retirement, he sat fourth overall on the goal kicking table behind Gordon Coventry, Doug Wade and Jack Titus
After his form dropped off in 1975 due to a serious kidney injury, he left the Magpies to play for Devonport in Tasmania. He came back a year later, but the Pies were unwilling to have him, so he played 11 games booting 36 goals for Carlton in 1977 before retiring for good.
Despite the way his career trailed off, he will still be remembered for a champion goal kicker who helped the Pies to various Grand Finals in the 1970s.
13. Peter Daicos (1979-1993) 250 Games, 549 Goals [1 Premiership, 2 B&F]
Peter Daicos or the ‘Macedonian Marvel’ as he was known, became famous for his freakish ability to kick the impossible goal. He was commonly a half forward or forward pocket who could have stints in the midfield, but was most dangerous around goal.
Daicos became the new McKenna of the 1980s, leading the Pies goal kicking tables in 1981-82 and 1990-92, while also winning two Copeland Trophy’s in 1982 and 1988. Daicos was regarded as one of the best small forwards of all time, and in 1990, finally won the premiership he was waiting for.
1990 was also his third Victorian representation and his return to the forward line. Arguably, his most famous goal came in the 1990 Qualifying Final, where he was close to the boundary, corralled by an opponent but somehow managed to kick a freakish goal to tie the match, which resulted in a replay the following week in which the Pies triumphed.
He won Goal of the Year in 1991, and after retiring in 1993, eventually became an AFL Hall of Fame member, and a Collingwood Team of the Century member.
12. Lou Richards (1941-1955) 250 Games, 423 Goals [1 Premiership, 4 Yr Captain]
Lou Richards has become an icon of the modern game through not only his playing career, but his post-football media career. Richards was commonly known as “Louie the Lip” for his cheeky nature for sledging opposition players.
As a player he made his debut during the war years and played as a rover and resting forward pocket. In his third season he led Collingwood’s goal kicking in 1944, and did so again in 1948 and 1950. Richards became captain in 1952 and held the premiership cup aloft a year later. He continued to captain the club till his retirement in 1955.
A famous aspect of his game was to rove opposition ruck taps and that made him a legend at Collingwood.
While Richards didn’t make the Collingwood Team of the Century, his captaincy and legacy will always be remembered at the Collingwood Football Club as one of the greats.
11. Murray Weideman (1953-1963) 180 Games, 262 Goals [2 Premierships, 3 B&F, 4 Yr Captain]
Murray Weideman is another premiership captain who was lucky enough to play in a premiership in his first year. He was best known as the hard man of the 1950s Collingwood side for his constant irritation of opposition players. In the 1958 Grand Final, his job on Ron Barrassi helped him become a premiership captain after filling in for injured skipped Frank Tuck.
In his 11 year career, he won three Copeland Trophies in 1957 and 1961-2. Not only was he a star in the midfield, but he also moved forward and became Collingwood’s leading goal kicker in 1959-60 and 1962
He was inducted as Collingwood’s Team of the Century at Centre Half Forward. Along with these accolades he became a Collingwood Life Member and