History of the Collingwood Football Club
Like many Victorian AFL clubs, Collingwood has an extensive and detailed history extending back 117 years, it initially represented the inner
Melbournesuburb of Collingwood, Victoria, however its supporter base, while rooted in the city of Melbourne, extends throughout Australia. It has won 14 VFL/AFL premierships, second to Essendon and Carlton with 16. They hold the record for most premierships in a row with 4 (1927-1930) and remain the only club to have gone through a full home and away season undefeated (1929).
This article explores the history of the club from its formation over 110 years ago, in the early 1890s, to the current season.
The Collingwood Football Club was born on the cusp of one of the world's worst depressions in February 1892 [A Century Of The Best, Michael Roberts p.viii pub:1991] . Collingwood played its first game in the
Victorian Football Association, the premier football competition at the time, against Carlton Football Club on the 7th of May 1892 [A Century Of The Best, Michael Roberts p.x pub:1991] .
1896 premiership and Entry to VFL
Being the VFA's newest team, Collingwood improved quickly and won its first and only VFA premiership in 1896.
At the end of the 1896 season, Collingwood and South Melbourne finished exactly equal in all respects at the top of the VFA's premiership ladder. This was the first time this had occurred in VFA history. The VFA determined that an elimination match should take place to decide the season's premiership on
October 3, 1896at the East Melbourne Cricket Ground. Collingwood won the match thanks to Jason Serratore, six goals to five, in front of an estimated crowd of 12,000.
Even though this victory brought Collingwood a premiership, it is uncertain whether the match itself was promoted as a "Premiership Match" or as a "Grand Final" at the time. [For a detailed history of the evolution and development of the manner in which the VFA premiers were determined, and finals system used by the early
Victorian Football League(VFL) see Early VFL Final systems.]
In 1897, Collingwood, along with fellow VFA clubs Fitzroy, Melbourne, St Kilda, Carlton, Essendon, South Melbourne and Geelong split from the VFA and formed the VFL (
Victorian Football League). Despite being the youngest club, it did not take long for the Magpies to establish themselves on the new footballing landscape.
The decade of 1900-1909, was the decade where the foundations were laid, for a long and successful future. In the first decade of the 20th century, Collingwood racked up 119 wins from 172 games, and two Grand Final victories from four attempts. The Pies built a huge reputation for being a fearsome side, despite playing in a depression stricken town. During this period of time, the club had eight skippers, with
Lardie Tullochthe longest standing captain of the decade, spending three years at the helm. Collingwood also employed their first ever coach in 1904, in club legend Bill Strickland. In 1906, Collingwood’s first true icon emerged, Dick Lee. In career at the club, he played 230 games, and after his retirement in 1922, had totaled with 707 goals. The Magpies played off in the Grand Finals of 1901, 1902, 1903 and 1905 – coming out on top in ’02 and ’03. In 1902, Collingwood defeated Essendon by 33 points in front of a crowd of 35,202 at the MCG.
The following year saw Collingwood win complete the set of back-to-back flags, against rivals Fitzroy by only two points. For the rest of the decade, Collingwood could only manage one more Grand Final, against Fitzroy again, at the MCG. This time however, Fitzroy atoned for their loss two years prior with a 13 point victory.
Collingwood only played in four finals in the next four seasons, without winning any of them. They ended the decade with seven finals losses on the trot, with perhaps Dick Condon the player of the decade. Condon, the man accredited with the invention of the stab kick, was one of the most talented players of the early years. Club legend Jock McHale labelled Condon the greatest footballer he had seen.
1920s-1930s: McHale Era
Collingwood became a powerhouse club during the 1920s & 30s, an era that included the greatest run of successive premierships, four in a row from 1927-1930, the only VFL/AFL undefeated season (
1929), and the longest serving coach in the history of the VFL/AFL, Jock McHalewho coached Collingwood for 37 years from 1912-1949 after playing for the Magpies from 1902-1921. The record of four flags in succession has never once been matched nor topped, with the Melbourne of 1955-1957 and the Brisbane Lions of 2001-2003 both reaching the following season's Grand Final, only to be thwarted by Collingwood and Port Adelaide respectively. This period produced a total of six premierships, and some of the club's greatest ever servants. Names such as Syd Coventry, brother Gordon Coventry, Harry Collierand Albert Collierwere among the preeminent players of their time, helping establish the Magpies as a club based upon a strong family history.
Gordon Coventry led the goal kicking in every season between 1922-1927, whilst brother Syd captained the club for eight seasons, his record of 153 matches as skipper was overtaken by
Nathan Buckleyin late 2006. Albert Collierwon the Brownlow Medalin 1929, paving the way for brother Harry to win it in the following year. The Collingwood side of the late 1920s has been described as one of the greatest football 'dynasties' amongst others including; Melbourne of the 1950s, Hawthorn of the 1980s and arguably, Brisbane of the early 2000s.
1950-1989 The Colliwobbles
After 17 years of frustration and four Grand Finals Collingwood finally tasted premiership success in 1953 with a two goal victory over reigning premier Geelong, led by
Lou Richards. This premiership team was a unique one as it consisted of three sets of brothers - Ron & Lou Richards, Bob & William Rose and Bill, Pat & Mick Twomey. Coincidentally it was the first and last time Collingwood legend Bob Rose was to taste premiership success as a player or coach.
1958premiership was to be their last for 32 years. The victory in 1958 was an underdog victory, with Collingwood motivated to prevent their opponent Melbourne winning its fourth successive Grand Final. In 1959 and 1960 Melbourne won again, so Collingwood's 1958 victory was essential to protect the club's greatest on field achievement. The 1976 season saw the club win its first ever wooden spoon, which subsequently lead to the dismissal of senior coach Murray Weideman. This was partly due to Weideman at one point refusing to work at the club whilst Ern Clarke was president, leading to a turbulent season for the Magpies. But then Collingwood broke with long held tradition the following year when the club appointed a non Collingwood person as coach for the first time in it's history - high profiled former Richmond Premiership coach Tom Hafey. He lifted the Magpies from last position the previous year to the Grand Final.
Hafey was sensationally sacked during the 1982 season after guiding the club to 5 Grand Finals. He was eventually replaced by Leigh Matthews after brief stints from
Mick Erwin, John Cahill& Bob Rose between 1982 & 1986. Matthews would develop a team that would lead to the drought breaking premiership of 1990, ironically he would later coach against the Magpies in two more Grand Finals. The 60s and 70s produced some of Collingwood's greatest ever players, the likes of Len Thompson, Des Tuddenham, Peter McKenna, Wayne Richardson, Ross Dunne, Phil Carman, Bill Picken, Ron Wearmouth, Peter Moore and Max Richardsonyet each of them failed to achieve the ultimate goal of a Premiership. Many have speculated as to why Collingwood came so close on so many occasions, some have even said that the Collingwood teams of the 60s and 70s were so packed with precision that they lacked power to win a flag.
During this drought, fans remarkably had to endure no less than nine fruitless grand finals (1960, 1964, 1966, 1970, 1977 (drawn, then lost in a replay the following week to North Melbourne), 1979, 1980, 1981), inspiring the term "Colliwobbles" to signify a choking phenomenon. Regardless of the seldom Premiership success however, the supporter base remained one of the strongest. On four of those occasions the losing margin was less than two goals.
The 1990s saw Collingwood win their first premiership after a long drought, only to fall from success to earn their second ever wooden spoon by 1999.
The 1990 Premiership, coached by
Leigh Matthewsand skippered by Tony Shawprovided relief via a one-sided affair against Essendon, the Magpies going on to record a 48 point victory. Ending a 32 year premiership drought which included eight Grand Final losses and one draw.
Unfortunately, however, the club lapsed into a state of decline, their status as a potential powerhouse at the beginning of the decade was reduced with each passing season, the club contesting the finals only twice after 1990 (in 1992 and 1994, losses to St Kilda and West Coast respectively).
With an air of stagnation and staleness sweeping the stands at Victoria Park, the club opted to call time on Matthews’ ten year stay, opting to find a replacement from inside the club, selecting Shaw as the new coach. In hindsight, although he tried his best, Shaw was probably the wrong choice for the club at the time, new blood from another culture at another club the order of the day. Under Shaw the team developed the habit of beginning their seasons like a house on fire, before tapering off as the year wore on. To make matters worse, the state of the list was in disrepair due to poor blend of veterans past their use by date, poor drafting and bungled trades.
In Shaw's first year as coach, 1996, the team was more attacking than it had been under Matthews, but injuries to skipper Gavin Brown and key players in Graham Wright and
Damian Monkhorstderailed the year. The team crept very close to the edge midway through the year, very nearly becoming the first Collingwood team to lose eight games on the trot; a rousing ten goal victory over North Melbourne in round 15, propelled by stunning performances from Nathan Buckleyand Saverio Roccaproving the tonic to hold the record at bay. For the time being.
With the recruitment of
Anthony Rocca, Saverio Rocca's younger brother, 1997 took on a sense of optimism, and the team appeared a chance of living up to the hype when they reached the top of the league ladder after only eight rounds, losing only two matches to that point in time. But after leading by 37 points at quarter time on a boggy MCG over the previous years runners up, Sydney, the rot set in for good, the team capitulating to go down in demoralising fashion, only Jason Wildand Richard Osbornelooking handy in attack with the Rocca brothers failing to fire a shot. The loss has been relegated to the history books as just another match, however, when you delve deeper into the annals of Collingwood’s history, it proved much more than just a game.
The Magpies lost to Hawthorn at Waverley Park the following week on a typically wet and miserable day, failing to score a goal in the opening term as the Hawks blitzed all comers. The wheels were again set in motion for another winless June, the team finally snapping out of its slump at the ground it knew like no other, Victoria Park in round 15 against Fremantle. The match took on much relevance, a 100 point victory celebrated in Buckley’s 100th outing, Saverio Rocca scoring nine goals.
The season petered out, the team lacking the polish to crack it for September action, the Jekyll and Hyde nature of the side on show in the final two weeks, with a narrow defeat at the hands of Adelaide snuffing out any finals hopes before ending the year on a high note, a strong win over perennial powerhouse North Melbourne. At least the club had something to work with in the future.
Sadly, 1998 proved much of the same for Shaw, but without the rousing finish. Instead, another bright start paved the way for some heavy losses midseason, successive victories in rounds 15 and 16 over Geelong and Hawthorn in the wet the club’s final opportunity to belt out its favourite tune until round eight of 1999.
1999: A Low Point
One loss followed another, as the team plummeted to an all new low, losing the final six matches of the year.The true bottoming out of the football club occurred after what was dubbed an insipid performance against oldest and most hated rival Carlton in round 21 at the MCG. Scoring a dismal 8.15 for the match, it is remembered by many as the very day the Collingwood Football Club’s nose dive from premiers in 1990 to easybeats was completed. Players struggled for direction as their opponents blew them out of the water.
But as they say, the darkest hour is before dawn, and so it proved for Collingwood. The match paved the way for Eddie McGuire, then a media personality with Channel 9 and Triple M, to open his doors to the idea of presidency, a position he was elected to after the season concluded, and one in which he remains in today, presiding over the reformation of the Collingwood Football Club. In one of the only bright moments of the year, Buckley finished second in the Brownlow Medal to Saint Robert Harvey on 24 votes, winning his third Copeland Trophy and relieving Brown of the captaincy.
Although the side may have finished 16th and collected only its second wooden spoon in season 1999, things were changing around Victoria Park, including the ground itself. It now hosted its final two home and away matches (losses to West Coast in round three and Brisbane in round 22), whilst seeing the end of Shaw as coach, Brown as captain and the introduction at season's end of some likely lads in Josh Fraser, Rhyce Shaw and Ben Johnson, as well as current coach Mick Malthouse.
First, the club’s 13-match losing streak (rounds 17, 1998 to 7, 1999) came to an end, Buckley returning from a broken jaw suffered in round two on Easter Monday’s loss to Carlton to pilot the side to a well celebrated win in the mud and slush of the MCG. Buckley’s return to action was heralded with four goals of his own and three Brownlow Votes, and the team overcame fellow cellar dweller Fremantle. If it wasn’t for his untimely jaw injury, suffered when his head collided with Blue wingman Justin Murphy’s knee, Buckley may well have won his first Brownlow Medal, finishing equal third with Blues ruckman Matthew Allan on 20 votes, eight behind overall winner Shane Crawford.
The team, under the guidance of Shaw for the final time, produced some bright sparks in amongst the smouldering ashes of the 1990s, sparks which morphed over time into phoenixes providing hope of a bright future, in Chris Tarrant, Paul Licuria, Tarkyn Lockyer, Anthony Rocca, Nick Davis, Heath Scotland, Damien Adkins and
Rupert Betheras. The eight formed the nucleus along with incoming draftees who joined the club over the next three years as part of the 2001-2003 surge back up the ladder.
As the game farewelled Victoria Park as a league ground in the final match of the year, a damp squib of a match despite the off field staff's best efforts, the day tarred by poor weather and a Brisbane side destined for greater things. It also signified the end of Shaw after four years and little success, and experienced stalwarts of the decade, Monkhorst, Alex McDonald and Scott Crow, also waved into the sunset (or, in Monkhorst’s case, Moorabbin at St Kilda).
The 2000s saw the rebuilding of the club with a new president, new coach and new list of players. Within 2 years Collingwood had made it to a grand final ultimately making two appearances in 2002 and 2003, defeated both times by Brisbane who would ultimately win three in a row. The club's performance waned in the 2004-2005 seasons only to return to form again making the finals in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
The beginning of 2000 also signified a new beginning at Victoria Park, the dawn of a bold, bright and hopefully new era for Collingwood. Mick Malthouse, premiership coach for
West Coastand previously a successful footballer, was lured to the club by McGuire, Buckley re-signed to the tune of five years, and the club finally made good use of its good draft picks after years of frittering away opportunities, snaring ruck protégé Josh Fraser with the first selection in the 1999 National Draft, lightning fast wingman Rhyce Shaw, the son of former club captain Ray and nephew of Tony, his mate from the northern suburbs, the gritty, pacy and daring Ben Johnson and Perth’s indigenous livewire Leon Davis. Interestingly, three of the trio formed part of the club’s leadership group in 2007, with Davis also noted for his growing confidence in a leadership capacity.
Under Malthouse, the club displayed glimpses of what was on offer in the coming years with the young brigade leading the way to a 5-0 start to season 2000, a turnaround previously unheard of from such no names. Buckley was everywhere in the opening half of the year, the Rocca brothers returned to their best form, and the kids, Adkins, Fraser, Johnson and Davis, enjoyed debuts to remember in the round one drubbing of Hawthorn on a sweltering MCG under hot Melbourne skies.
It all came to a grinding halt in round six when reigning premiers brought the kids back to earth with a shudder, giving them an old fashioned football lesson. The rot set in again, albeit somewhat more accepted by the Collingwood faithful than it would previously have been, for they knew Malthouse’s plan, and how pain would be endured before they were rewarded with the promised pleasure.
Minus a breezy win over eventual spooners St Kilda, there was not much to like about the Magpies until the closing stages of the season, when Nick Davis led the side to a rousing victory over the Kangaroos at Colonial Stadium. In the final round of the season, the club bid adieu to two of its finest products in Gavin Brown and Gavin Crosisca against a premiership bound Essendon at the MCG in round 22.
Brown and Crosisca were at the forefront of the club’s quasi-glory days of the late 80s and early, early 90s and were bastions of hope in the dark days of the later decade. They received a stunning goodbye from the crowd and a sentimental and terrifically sporting gesture from Essendon and their coach Kevin Sheedy, who stood nearby and clapped the two Gavins from the ground for one last time on the shoulders of their teammates. Brown would remain to this very day at the club in the capacity of an assistant coach, while Crosisca traveled the state in the same guise, albeit with stints at Hawthorn, North Ballarat, the Kangaroos and now Carlton.
With the departure of Brown and Crosisca, not a player remained on the list from the 1990 premiership side. The era of days gone by had gone, but it wouldn’t be forgotten, however the new blood was coming through, thick and fast. September action was just around the corner.
The season of 2001 marked a whole new beginning for the Collingwood Football Club. Whilst, yes, it had new personal in 2000, the club used much of the year to clean out deadwood which was stagnating at the club. As Brown and Crosisca departed, so to did Brad Smith, Ricky Olarenshaw, Shane Watson and a number of others. But the biggest shocks came in the form of the trading of Paul Williams and the delisting of Saverio Rocca. Although the pair had not seen their best form for a year or two, it still came as a surprise to many at the speed the Magpies gave them away. The club, though, received nothing for Rocca’s services, which was quite absurd, considering the fact that the Kangaroos were able to draft him with the 34th selection in the 2000 National Draft.
To add to the new fresh air passing through the club, the team now donned a newlook jumper. For over 100 years, the Magpies had worn a jumper with black stripes on a white background. Now, it was reversed, the players wearing a black back on their jumper with a white number, and the colours of each stripe were reversed. The year began brightly, with some promising showings in the Ansett Cup morphing into some heartening displays in the real season, with the youth, in the form of Shane O’Bree, Paul Licuria and Tarkyn Lockyer picking up much of the slack from Buckley in the midfield.
The club’s busy trading in the off season of 2000/2001 also paid dividends, with James Clement, Jarrod Molloy, Shane Wakelin Brodie Holland, Carl Steinfort and Chad Rintoul all having the desired impact, using their matured bodies and desire to make the best of a second chance (or in the cases of Molloy and Rintoul, their third) at league level. Molloy’s bullocking work, in particular, won him accolades from all comers, going on to finish runner up to Licuria in the Copeland Trophy.
Even more important to the club’s future was the youth drafted over the course of the past two seasons, with Alan Didak and Ryan Lonie immediately adding spark to the team, while Jason Cloke and Guy Richards were cultivated with Williamstown in the VFL. Lonie’s meteoric rise, in particular, stole hearts of Collingwood fans around the nation with his daring runs, flashy bouncing and long range bombs from outside the fifty winning plaudits from many up the pecking order in the AFL, nominated for the Ansett Rising Star for his troubles following another night out at the MCG against Richmond in round four.
That match also marked the one, and only, match for highly rated recruit Danny Roach. Selected with the seventh choice in the 1999 National Draft, Roach’s career was curtailed by nagging hip injuries which forced him to retire after only two years in the system.
Under Malthouse, the players began showing greater awareness and maturing, and were now standing their own when the temperature rose in the kitchen. After a narrow loss to Hawthorn due to inaccurate kicking, the Pies went on to win their next two matches against Fremantle and the Western Bulldogs, with Buckley leading the way, winning a remarkable, career high 46 disposals against the Dockers, piloting the way to victory, before playing a large role in the side’s huge victory over the Bulldogs on a sandy Colonial Stadium.
Some more close losses ensued against Richmond and Essendon on Anzac Day; the latter a match which could easily have been won had the Magpies made the most of their opportunities. A strong, nail biting triumph over Carlton the following week on Federation Weekend gave the squad the impetus to mount a finals challenge.
The team stumbled badly in round seven against their favourite bullies from the previous decade, the Kangaroos. With the match there for the taking late in the day, Mrs.Rocca simply did not know which way to look. At one end, eldest son Sav put his side in front with minutes remaining, while in the dying seconds, Anthony had the chance to win it for the Pies. He was unable to convert, the side to rue the missed opportunity much later in the season. The irony that Sav, the man cut loose free of charge by the club only months prior, was the man to win the match was too much to bear for many diehards. The match also marked the debut of 2006 Copeland Trophy winner Alan Didak.
Fortunately, the group was able to turn around their misfortune with a victory over Port Adelaide one for the highlight reels. Despite playing in foreign territory in front of a hostile crowd, the Magpies bit hard all night, with Josh Fraser’s intercept of Brett Montgomery’s handball late in the piece and ensuing goal wrapping up a morale boosting nine point triumph.
The club defeated St Kilda in unconvincing fashion on an overcast day a week later before succumbing to the flooding, negative ways of Rodney Eade and his Sydney Swans. The Swans were ultra defensive all day, flooding so much so to the extent that it was thought that Colonial Stadium would be eroded away into the docklands and beyond!
Swamped by such negative tactics, the Magpies were never able to drag themselves out of the mire, the match memorable only for Paul Williams’ return to face his old side, Buckley’s hamstring injury and Molloy’s spectacular launch over Swan fullback Andrew Dunkley. Sadly, for Molloy, the mark was not paid due to an indiscretion by Rocca, robbing Molloy of one of the marks of 2001.
Two thumping victories over Melbourne and the lowly West Coast followed, with the club now well placed for bigger and better things, only to be struck down by their famed slump not long after. With Buckley back in toe, he led the side to a gritty two point triumph over Adelaide at Football Park, winning 38 possessions in a virtuoso performance.
Times quickly changed, with Geelong, Brisbane and then Hawthorn all steamrolling the young, tiring Magpies, dragging them back into the pack. With September not far away, there was little room for error.
The team suffered a fright in their encounter with the winless Dockers in round 17 at Subiaco Oval, before a loss to the Tigers under lights, a night which saw the side score only six goals (three to Nick Davis), all but put the kibosh on the team’s finals aspirations.
A thrashing of the Western Bulldogs, led by Buckley, Fraser and four Leon Davis goals kept their heads above water for the time being, before they were shoved under by Essendon under lights. Despite the loss, the team gave a proper account of themselves, Rocca leading the way with six goals, before the Bombers crept away late. The Pies victory push was stalled when Molloy looked to clean up Bomber wingman Mark Mercuri, but instead decapitated teammate Tarkyn Lockyer, concussion sidelining the likeable West Australian for the remaining two matches.
Carlton decided the hand the club a walloping in round 21, before the team, minus Lonie for the first time that season, a remarkable effort for a debutant, cruised to victory over the Kangaroos at Manuka Oval, Canberra, a win trumpeted as the changing of the guard by many, with the Roos on the slide, and the Magpies on the rise. It proved the final match for Brent Tuckey and Andrew Ukovic, while Heath Scotland saved his career with a 21 possession afternoon.
And so the season was done with, Collingwood finishing 9th and narrowly missing out on finals action for the first time since 1994. It was their highest finish since their most recent September showing. Thankfully, it wouldn’t be long before they again featured in the game’s showpiece.
In 2002, Collingwood rose from its seven year hiatus from September action, reaching the finals for the first time since it bowed out by two points at the hands of West Coast in 1994, and the Grand Final for the first time since 1990. The club won 13 matches in the home and away rounds, although its late-season trough, which saw it win only one of its last four matches saw most pundits write off the team's prospects in the month that matters. Despite this, the fourth placed Magpies shook the competition to its foundations with a boilover victory against the top of the table
Port Adelaideat AAMI Stadiumin the Qualifying Final. Victory here bought the team a weeks rest, and booked a ticket with Adelaidein the Preliminary Finalat the MCG. They won in emphatic fashion highlighted by a six goal third term, Anthony Rocca's 75m pearler the stand out, while Betherasand Freeborn's majors were rewarded with roars louder than any other witnessed by the famous stadium. The win took them to the Grand Final, where the young Magpies acquitted themselves brilliantly, only to lose by nine points to the powerful Brisbane.
The 2003 season was seen as a form of redemption, and began well, with three wins from the first three encounters, as well as an appearance in the Wizard Cup Grand Final, only to lose to Adelaide. With the club the talk of the town, the Pies bubble burst, and reached the halfway mark of the season with six wins and six losses. A playing list that resilient rarely stays down for too long, and so it proved, with
Nathan Buckleyplaying some career best football, igniting the side en route to finishing second on the ladder, winning 10 of its last 11 matches. A gritty win over bogy side Brisbane in the Qualifying Final was followed a fortnight later by a breezy 44 point triumph over Port Adelaide, securing the club's appearance in a grand final for the second year running, again to be played against Brisbane.
Here, however, is where things started to change, the club first relishing in its VFL affiliate Williamstown's Grand Final victory on the Sunday, in a fitting send off to retiring warriors
Mark Richardson, Jarrod Molloyand Glenn Freeborn. On the Monday night, Buckley was crowned the Brownlow Medallist, in a three-way tie with Mark Ricciutoand Adam Goodesafter years of near misses. The rot set in when key forward, and the club's most important player, Anthony Roccawas suspended for two weeks for striking Port Adelaide's Brendon Ladein the Preliminary Final. For the second year in succession, the Pies were to be robbed of a vital cog in its well oiled engine.
Although going in to the Grand Final as favourites, Collingwood was beaten by a Brisbane side written off by many as too old and too slow. The Lions peppered the goals in the opening term, before taking advantage of the shellshocked Magpies with a six goal to one second term. Only late plastic surgery to the scoreboard was able to save Collingwood any face, the Lions victorious for the third year on the trot by a whopping 50 points. The club was subjected to a summer-long period of ridicule, the ramifications of the loss stirring the mindset of the team for the next two years.
In 2004 and 2005, Collingwood finished 13th and 15th respectively, and by the end of the latter season, it appeared the team moulded since 2000 was broken. In spite of the predictions of the game's experts, Malthouse regenerated the side through the recruitment of a number of likely young products including Dale Thomas and
Scott Pendlebury, while Travis Clokehad arrived a year earlier.
Collingwood made a blistering start to its 2006 campaign before a sudden loss of form following a torrid evening against Brisbane in round 10 derailed the season. Despite this, three late season victories took the side to fifth rung on the ladder, only to be uncerominiously swiped from the finals series by a Footscray outfit obsessed with outrunning their opposition. The loss left many questioning whether the era was over, but the coming season was to prove Collingwood would continue to remain a successful side.
"For more information see:
2007 AFL season"
Malthouse coached brilliantly throughout 2007, blooding 10 debutants while champions Buckley,
James Clementand Paul Licuriawere sidelined through injury. Such was the side's ability to tough out any onfield situation it faced, they achieved the rare success of never losing more than one match at a time. Despite finishing outside of the top four, the Magpies made it through to the Grand Final qualifier following stirring victories over the past two champions in Sydney and West Coast, but went down to Geelong by five points before a crowd of 98,002 attracting a higher attendance than the actual Grand Final, in a game that was ultimatly referred to as the 'real' 2007 Grand Final.
Skipper Buckley retired in the ensuing weeks, as did Clement and Licuria, a changing of the guard apparent, as the young Magpies, such as
Dale Thomas, Scott Pendlebury, Martin Clarkeand Nick Maxwellproved themselves capable of not only keeping the club near the top end of the ladder, but perhaps within reach of premiership success in the years to come.
Collingwood has achieved 5 wins from 9 games so far in the 2008 season."For more information see:
2008 AFL season"
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