Herald Sun launch SuperFooty subs

Herald-Sun PaywallThe Herald Sun will officially launch Super Footy’s new subscription service today with their online site charging people for premium content. In previous years The Herald Sun has allowed readers to browse through their online site free of charge, but the time cost, we’re told, was becoming too much.

Journalists such as Mark Robinson were spending most of their weekend writing online content in such columns as ‘The Tackle’ which meant less time to write for the print edition. Some people see this as a small mercy, but business is business.

The Herald Sun is aware that many people will be against paying for previously free content, citing that they are expecting to have some “dramatic responses.”

Questions were raised regarding whether there would be many changes to the current SuperFooty website and those at the Herald Sun regarded the move as “refining what we’ve got.”

Those who opt not to take up the subscription offer can still view the news and basic SuperCoach stats which can be found on other news providers such as the AFL website. To access ‘premium’ content requires a subscription of $1 a week on top of an existing $5 to $8 per week dead-tree-and-digital subscription, or it is included as part of a $3 per week digital subscription.

Premium content includes:

• Exclusive columns by Mark Robinson and other Herald Sun journalists
• Ability to link your SuperCoach team with your SuperFooty account
• Live SuperCoach scores play by play as they happen, including highlighting your SuperCoach players as they pick up points (though, inexplicably, other sites offer live scoring for free)
• New forward-line stats which detail how effective each team has been inside their forward-line
• New interface which works faster and is more user friendly than previous editions

Many critics argue that the cost will deter people from subscribing. While The Herald Sun admitted that selling this concept to customers may be tough, they believe that they are “entering a new world” and are “leading the way” for other online news sites. But is it enough to get people tapping in their credit card numbers?

While the official SuperFooty section launches tomorrow, readers have a free introductory two-month subscription. History, that of the UK in particular, suggests that drop-off after the free period is high.

Is the specialised SuperFooty experience as a whole compelling enough to keep people paying? Will locking up content and interactivity kill growth against the AFL’s official and heavily publicised Dream Team competition?

If you are a fan who is fanatical about their SuperCoach and in-depth statistics, take the paid subscription.

For those who just need the basics, they’re freely available on other sites. The key selling point is the interactivity within SuperFooty. If you need that, then it might just be worth the extra $50 a year.

Roos eye Top 4 spot: Cunnington

North Melbourne Football Club LogoNorth Melbourne young gun Ben Cunnington has declared the Kangaroos are a potential top four side. Speaking at the North Melbourne media day, the former number 5 pick announced the side had what it took to challenge the better teams.

“We believe we have the list and the availability to make the top four and hopefully this year’s the year we climb up the ladder” Cunnington told BigFootyNews.com.

Externally the side are expected to make the jump to finals after two consecutive ninth placings the last two years. Internally, the Kangaroos are more confident.

Cunnington said the team had its best pre-season since he had been at the club and that has allowed him to improve his fitness so he can spend more time in the midfield.

Along with Captain Andrew Swallow and young stars Jack Ziebell and Levi Greenwood, Cunnington expects the midfield to work together more effectively than in past seasons.

“We had a young midfield, but now we’ve got our 30-50 games between us, it should be really exciting because we’re starting to gel together.”

North Melbourne fans will be delighted at a side which believes it has what it takes to climb to the top of the AFL ladder. In previous seasons, the team was beaten badly by top four contenders, but apart from the Grand Finalists last season, they began to become competitive, something Cunnington says the side needs to show.

“We definitely need to put up a consistent fight so we can see where we are in the AFL.”

While 2011 may have ended one place short of a finals berth, Cunnington says that some significant differences have ensured that the side has had a more ideal preparation to the season.

“Not as many injuries on the track, more experience, more games, we’re working pretty good and we’ve come a fair way since the previous years’.”

Huge losses to sides such as Collingwood and Geelong have helped the Roos develop and become a stronger team, which Cunnington says will help them defeat the top four sides.

“It’s who we compare ourselves too, they’re the top four teams, and it’s where we want to go.”

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.

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.

120 Years of Collingwood: Part 5 – Players 11-20

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.

 

20. Billy Picken (1974-1983, 1986) 212 Games, 46 Goals [2 B&F]

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

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.

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.

120 Years of Collingwood: Part 2 – Players 41-80

Here is part two of the series which lists the top 120 players, in this part there are premiership captains, multiple premiership players, multiple best and fairest winners and 200 game players. There are players from the intial turn of the 20th century right through to the turn of the 21st century. The next list will be 40-31 with written explanation for each pick. Here’s the list from 80-41:

80. Shane Morwood (1983-1993) 195 Games, 111 Goals [1 Premiership]
79. Max Richardson (1969-1978) 211 Games, 158 Goals [1 Yr Captain]
78. Frank Tuck (1950-1959) 131 Games, 34 Goals [2 Yrs Captain]
77. Graham Wright (1988-1998) 201 Games, 107 Goals [1 Premiership]
76. Damian Monkhorst (1988-1999) 205 Games, 45 Goals [1 Premiership]
75. Fred Leach (1897-1903) 84 Games, 8 Goals [1 Coleman*]
74. Leon Davis (2000-2011) 225 Games, 270 Goals
73. Charlie Laxton (1912-1921) 147 Games, 89 Goals [2 Premierships]
72. Tarkyn Lockyer (1999-2010) 227 Games, 149 Goals
71. Simon Prestigiacomo (1996-2010) 233 Games, 3 Goals
70. Anthony Rocca (1997-2009) 220 Games, 404 Goals
69. George Clayden (1924-1933) 134 Games, 79 Goals [1 B&F]
68. Tony Francis (1990-1998) 142 Games, 103 Goals [1 Premiership, 1 B&F]
67. Scott Burns (1995-2008) 265 Games, 149 Goals [1 Yr Captain]
66. Gavin Crosisca (1987-2000) 246 Games, 64 Goals [1 Premiership]
65. Jack Monohan (1897-1907) 171 Games, 7 Goals [2 Premierships]
64. Jack Murphy (1937-1947) 160 Games, 44 Goals [1 B&F]
63. Dennis Banks (1979-1991) 166 Games, 111 Goals [1 Premiership]
62. Fred Froute (1930-1939) 148 Games, 44 Goals [3 Premierships]
61. Phil Carman (1975-1978) 66 Games, 172 Goals [1 B&F]
60. Jack Beveridge (1926-1934) 148 Games, 44 Goals [4 Premierships]
59. Craig Davis (1979-1983) 102 Games, 251 Goals
58. Percy Bowyer (1928-1938) 154 Games, 33 Goals [4 Premierships]
57. Bob Makeham (1923-1932) 157 Games, 97 Goals [4 Premierships]
56. Des Healey (1948-1955) 149 Games, 37 Goals [1 Premiership, 1 B&F)
55. George Angus (1902-1911) 157 Games, 64 Goals [3 Premierships]
54. Bill Twomey Jnr. (1945-1958) 189 Games, 154 Goals [1 Premiership, 1 B&F, 1 Yr Captain]
53. Con McCarthy (1915-1921) 101 Games, 22 Goals [2 Premierships, 1 Yr Captain]
52. Len Murphy (1928-1937) 173 Games, 105 Goals [3 Premierships]
51. Paul Licuria (1999-2007) 182 Games, 70 Goals [2 B&F]
50. James Clement (2001-2007) 146 Games, 13 Goals [2 B&F]
49. Ross Dunne (1967-1978) 213 Games, 238 Goals [1 B&F]
48. Percy Wilson (1909-1920) 183 Games, 71 Goals [2 Premierships, 2 Yr Captain]
47. Charlie Pannam (1897-1907) 179 Games, 111 Goals [3 Premierships, 1 Coleman*, 1 Yr Captain]
46. Terry Waters (1963-1972) 163 Games, 182 Goals [1 B&F, 2 Yrs Captain]
45. Frank Murphy (1925-1934) 145 Games, 121 Goals [4 Premierships]
44. Saverio Rocca (1992-2000) 156 Games, 514 Goals [1 B&F]
43. Ray Shaw (1974-1981) 146 Games, 200 Goals [1 B&F, 2 Yrs Captain]
42. Bill Proudfoot (1897-1906) 108 Games, 0 Goals [3 Premierships, 1 COTC*, 3 Yrs Captain]
41. Mark Williams (1981-1986) 135 Games, 178 Goals [2 B&F, 4 Yr Captain]

*Champion of the Colony, an award similar to the Brownlow Medal in pre-1924 years

120 Years of Collingwood: Part 1 – Players 120-81

On Sunday 12th February 2012, Collingwood Football Club celebrated 120 years of existence after being formed in 1892.

Over those 120 years there have been so many champion players, and in a series over the next week I will be listing the top 120 players that have ever played for Collingwood. It has been quite tough to order the best 120 players, especially comparing eras, but I have compiled a list that will no doubt bring out controversy and discussion. The players ranked 41-120 will just be listed over the next two days, however from there the top forty will be discussed in tens and with a paragraph of explanation.

Those in the top 10 will have more in depth discussion. But, without further ado, here are the players listed 81-120:

120. Albert Lauder (1926-1931) 36 Games, 0 Goals [3 Premierships]
119. David Cloke (1983-1989) 114 Games, 51 Goals
118. James Manson (1985-1992) 120 Games, 106 Goals [1 Premiership]
117. Archie Smith (1897-1902) 89 Games, 119 Goals [1 Premiership, 1 Coleman*]
116. Jamie Turner (1984-1993) 160 Games, 33 Goals [1 Premiership]
115. Shane Watson (1992-2000) 141 Games, 102 Goals
114. Mark Richardson (1991-2002) 141 Games, 83 Goals
113. Gordon Hocking (1938-41, 1943-52) 171 Games, 78 Goals
112. Jack Hamilton (1948-1957) 154 Games, 16 Goals
111. Harry Chesswas (1922-1931) 154 Games, 45 Goals
110. Ken Turner (1956-1965) 170 Games, 56 Goals
109. Ron McKeown (1984-1993) 123 Games, 105 Goals
108. Peter McCormack (1976-1985) 160 Games, 21 Goals
107. Phil Manassa (1973-1979) 122 Games, 60 Goals
106. Charles Utting (1943-1950) 125 Games, 17 Goals [1 B&F]
105. Alec Mutch (1911-1921) 144 Games, 5 Goals [2 Premierships]
104. Craig Starcevich (1987-1993) 124 Games, 162 Goals [1 Premiership]
103. Michael Gayfer (1986-1993) 142 Games, 1 Goal [1 Premiership]
102. Shane Kerrison (1986-1995) 141 Games, 15 Goals [1 Premiership]
101. Jack Ross (1931-1940) 142 Games, 30 Goals [2 Premierships]
100. Peter Lucas (1949-1959) 177 Games, 1 Goal [1 Premiership]
99. Leo Wescott (1922-27, 1929, 1931-32) 143 Games, 3 Goals [2 Premierships]
98. Harry Saunders (1916-1926) 135 Games, 10 Goals [2 Premierships]
97. Ted Potter (1963-1972) 182 Games, 0 Goals
96. Paul Williams (1991-2000) 189 Games, 223 Goals
95. Harry Curtis (1914-1923) 122 Games, 149 Goals [1 Yr Captain]
94. Percy Gibb (1905-1914) 157 Games, 10 Goals [1 Premiership]
93. Ron Kingston (1950-1959) 173 Games, 7 Goals [1 Premiership]
92. Ron Richards (1947-1956) 143 Games, 114 Goals [1 Premiership]
91. Charles Pannam (1917-1922) 97 Games, 12 Goals [2 Premierships]
90. Kevin Rose (1958-1967) 159 Games, 47 Goals
89. Percy Rowe (1920-24, 1927-28) 96 Games, 37 Goals [2 Premierships]
88. Vin Doherty (1934-1939) 96 Games, 122 Goals [2 Premierships]
87. Ronnie Wearmouth (1969-1981) 186 Games, 127 Goals
86. Shane O’Bree (2000-2010) 227 Games, 84 Goals
85. Michael Twomey (1951-1961) 157 Games, 94 Goals [2 Premierships]
84. Ernie Wilson (1919-1928) 126 Games, 9 Goals [2 Premierships]
83. Charles Tyson (1920-1926) 106 Games, 42 Goals [3 Yr Captain]
82. Scott Russell (1990-1998) 182 Games, 107 Goals [1 Premiership]
81. Michael Christian (1987-1995) 131 Games, 23 Goals [1 Premiership]

Collingwood Magpies 2012 Team Preview

2011
Position: 2nd
Win/Loss: 22/3
Percentage: 167.66%

Ignoring the last game of the season, Collingwood had a wonderful season which saw them defeat all but one team. Unfortunately for the Pies, that team was the Geelong juggernaut which saw them fall agonisingly short of a back-to-back premiership.

They won twenty of twenty two games, one of which was less than a kick, and another was a dead rubber. Both however were against the Cats, who many would argue had the mental edge going into the Grand Final. With injury clouds over Ben Reid and Darren Jolly going into the clash, and a hard fought, energy-sapping win against the Hawks the week before, they were to run out of puff, with the Cats too good over four quarters.

In 2012, Pies fans would be expecting a top four finish and ideally a premiership. But if anyone knows how hard it is to win flags, it’s the tormented Pies’ supporters who lived through the 70’s. With Nathan Brown back in the side, and a young giant in Jarrod Witts coming through the ranks, the Pies are starting to reform their depth which lacked after the retirements of many key players in 2010.

They have only lost Leigh Brown and Leon Davis from their best 22, and many will be hoping Cameron Wood can take the next step in his development. Meanwhile Steele Sidebottom, Dayne Beams and Alex Fasolo are expected to get more midfield time. Overall this season will be about redemption as they seek to avenge their 2011 Grand Final loss.

Key Players:

Dane Swan – After controversially missing out on the 2010 Brownlow Medal, the tattooed ball magnet picked up his first Charlie in 2011. Despite his unconventional running style, Swan has become a key target for opposition taggers given his ability to go forward and snag goals. A keen goal sense and quick off the mark, Swan once again proved why is one of the best players in the league.

Travis Cloke – The much maligned Travis Cloke took his game to another level in 2011, finally finding his kicking boots and haunting oppositions. He collected the most contested marks in a season on record and booted three goals in the Grand Final to really stand up on the biggest stage. In 2012, Pies fans will be hoping he continues this form and is able to deliver 70+ goals as the leader of the forward line.

Scott Pendlebury – Pendlebury is one of the very few Magpies who put in a four quarter performance in the Grand Final. Stepping up in big games, Pendlebury finally won his first best and fairest, knocking off Dane Swan for the first time in four years. Collingwood’s vice captain will have a pretty huge offer on the table from GWS and he will no doubt have a lot to think about in season 2012.

Young Guns:

Steele Sidebottom – It’s hard to believe that Sidebottom is only 21 given he was only one half away from being a dual premiership player. Sidebottom has great goal sense and is good through traffic, however his inconsistency can frustrate supporters. Unlike most players, Sidebottom stands up in big games, but tends to drop off against lesser opponents, so in order for him to improve, he will be hoping to get longer stints in the midfield and with it, gain consistency.

Dayne Beams – Beams didn’t have the best 2011. After starting the season in poor form and even being dropped at one stage, he managed to overcome an injury to have a super back half of the season. Injured in the Preliminary Final to Hawthorn, he controversially ruled himself out of the Grand Final, however many believe he would have been dropped had he not withdrawn.

Alex Fasolo – ‘Fas’ quickly became a cult hero at the Pies with his cheeky smile and ability to kick the freakish goal. Wearing Peter Daicos’ number, he slotted several ripping goals, including five against Essendon in the second half of the season. Now donning the #1 guernsey, Fasolo will be looking to improve further and really consolidate his spot in the best 22.

Final Thoughts

Collingwood have only lost Leigh Brown, Leon Davis and John McCarthy from their top 30 players, while gaining a host of young players which include Jarrod Witts and the returned Marty Clarke. In 2012, it is expected they will once again go top four, and like a number of clubs, will be right up there when the whips are cracking.

Prediction

1st-4th