#12 – Collingwood Magpies
I have never been (nor will I ever be) a Collingwood supporter. I’m only writing this because the number of literate Collingwood supporters who wanted to write this article was as many as the amount of front teeth that their supporter base has – zilch.
Anyway, here I am, a supporter of another team writing about a team who most other clubs hate with a red hot passion (as red as Eddie’s beetroot-esque face). My fondest memories of Collingwood are the losing 2001 and 2002 grand finals. In their defence, they probably played one of the top three teams of the past 20 years (Brisbane 2001-2003). Seeing both Nathan Buckley and Mick Malthouse lose has to be one of the more enjoyable things in life.
The current outlook for the Pie is neither here nor there. It’s bleak as it has bright. It’s definitely not black or white. Long gone is the dominant midfield of the late naughties where Pendlebury, Swan, Beams, Thomas, Sidebottom and Ball would run around playing precise, chip-passing, high DreamTeam scoring game style. Three of the aforementioned have now moved on, and one is known for having more fun with illicit drugs then on the football field (Clue – it’s not Pendles or Sidey).
Pendles, Swan and Sidebottom are now supported by young, up-and-comers in Jamie Elliott, Taylor Adams, Tom Langdon, Josh Thomas and on a more unfortunate front – Travis Cloke (more on this giant spud later).
In 2015, fans should expect the off-field headlines to be bigger than the onfield. Already before the season kicked off, we heard about two players accused for doping. Without thinking much harder, these are 5 more headlines that I expect to see about the Pies this season:
- Buckley under investigation for injecting players with peptides – blames Hird.
- Malthouse return?
- Swan receives third illicit drug strike
- Beams: I left because Cloke got paid more than me
- Exclusive – Maguire’s face turns more red than Ron Weasley’s hair
Most interesting player off-field
As much as opposing teams hate Collingwood, I must say, it is difficult to not laugh at Swanny from time to time. Without a doubt, he is the Pies’ most interesting player off-field and perhapsthe most interesting in the league. The stories and rumours floating around the sporting circles all paint Swanny in an unflattering light. However, it’s clear that he does not give two craps about what anyone thinks about him. Good on him. I think.
However, going aside from the players, it’s hard not to look at Joffa. I mean, practically speaking, it’s hard to look directly at him as well, but he’s interesting. His Wikipedia page is more detailed than most, you know, actually famous people. He gets open letters to the AFL CEO published by ‘reputable’ newspapers. He has a bobblehead and, somehow, a movie made about him. And his occupation is listed as ‘cleaner’, which has a better ring to it than, ‘serial pest.’
Most hateable guy
Surely this has to be Travis Cloke. Surely. Overpaid, waste of space, can’t kick, can barely mark. How this guy managed to sign for $800k a year is beyond me. Get me the name of his manager. Every player in the AFL should be represented by that guy.
Refer above. Giant potato. If I could find a picture of a potato with Cloke’s head superimposed onto it, it still wouldn’t do his level of spudness justice.
There are huge wraps on Taylor Adams this year. He started in most of the centre bounce setups for the Pies throughout the NAB Cup and is expected to take on a Beams-type role as he will float through the forward line when resting. However time will tell which Beams he will become, Dayne or Claye.
Pendles is a top 5 player in the league and should sew up another B&F this year. Sidey might give him a run for his money but Pendles’ class will shine through.
Side note: You know who isn’t their MVP?
Answer: Freaking Travis Cloke.
What to expect when you’re expecting a premiership
If Collingwood can limit their off-field controversy and keep backing Buckley for another year, make some shrewd moves in the off-season…then they might have a similar year next year. The future is ‘meh’ right now for those who love the black and white! Hooray!
The Pie will win the flag if Cloke kicks 100 goals this season. Jokes. They aren’t winning the flag. They might finish 11th. “Good old Collingwood for eleventh” would make a great amendment to their theme song for 2015.