Collingwood Magpies: Back-to-back?

22 March 2011

Written by: Ben Waterworth


Nearly a quarter of a century had passed since the Collingwood Football Club last tasted the ultimate AFL success. But that had all been forgotten by October 2010, as the Pies claimed their first premiership since 1990.

All systems were a go in 2010, with the side winning 17 out of a possible 22 games to claim the clubs 18th minor premiership. Besides a few minor hiccups – including a thrilling draw in the first grand final – the Pies had a near brilliant season – a season that saw the emergence of several young players, who would contribute heavily to the clubs quest for glory in 2010 and beyond.

Over the past few years, Collingwood has slowly built the foundations for a possible dynasty.  Nathan Brown, Ben Reid, Sharrod Wellingham, Chris Dawes, Brent Macaffer and Tyson Goldsack were all selected in the 2006 national and rookie draft. Then Steele Sidebottom, Dayne Beams and Jarryd Blair were selected in the 2008 national and rookie draft. Let’s also take note of the recruitment of established players like Darren Jolly, Luke Ball and Leigh Brown.

Without doubt, the club has the best recruitment team in the league and they now have the silver wear to prove it.


With club great Simon Prestigiacomo retiring at the end of the 2010 season, it was almost a certainty that the two key defensive positions were going to be occupied by Ben Reid and Nathan Brown. But a few weeks ago, disaster struck the Magpies at training when Brown fell awkwardly on his left knee. He has undergone a full knee reconstruction, which most likely spells the end of his 2011 season. The onus now falls on Chris Tarrant – who returns to his club of origin – and his ability to fill the gap left by Brown. The 30-year-old will need to play at a high standard on a weekly basis in order to maintain the incredible reputation the Pies’ defense set in 2010. Collingwood’s back six always play a quick and attacking brand of football. If Tarrant can adapt and perform at his optimum level, he could prove to be the most important player for the club this season.


Round 8 – v Geelong, Friday 13 May at MCG

This will be Collingwood’s first game after the bye and also the second time for the season it will play a top eight contender from 2010. The Pies will again look to prove their dominance over a quality opponent like Geelong.

Round 14 – Sydney Swans, Saturday 25 June at ANZ Stadium

The inaugural mid-season clash against the Swans at ANZ stadium has become somewhat of a tradition. It is always a close encounter and the winner normally takes plenty of momentum heading into the second half of the season.

Round 23 – Fremantle, Friday 26 August at Patersons Stadium

The last few games of the home-and-away season are always important, but this one against the Dockers will be vital. It will be played at Subiaco and the Pies will have to deal with the Cats in round 24 the following week. Psychologically, this is a massive game just two weeks before the finals series.


This year will be very different to any other season for most Collingwood players. Representing the highest supported club in the competition has always added pressure to any Magpie player who takes to the field. But now, all players will have the added pressure of defending a premiership.

The Pies have already shown their aspirations for dominance in 2011, with a somewhat comfortable NAB Cup campaign. At times, they found themselves in a tight battle late in the final quarter, but were able to kick multiple goals under pressure to secure victory.

Some of the promising signs for the Magpies were that both players and coaches delivered when they were required to step out of their comfort zones. Assistant coaches Matthew Lappin and Nathan Buckley both coached a game under the watchful eyes of Mick Malthouse, while most players were experimented with at both ends of the ground or in unfamiliar territory.

The question with most premiership winning teams is always, can they get better? The answer is most defiantly yes for Collingwood.

With an average age of only 23 and a new season on the horizon, the AFL world will again see the Magpies play a big part deep into September and beyond.


1st – 4th 

Dylan Maxwell is a third year Bachelor of Arts student at La Trobe University. This is his first piece for upstart.