It was the year the dam wall burst, 2021, with the pressure on club legend Nathan Buckley becoming too much as he departed the club after a decade as senior coach. The club would go on to finish second-last on the ladder, winning just six games.
The on-field woes were nothing compared to the off-field state of the club however. Long-time President Eddie Maguire left his role at the beginning of 2021 on the back of the Do Better racism report, which has led to 12 months of uncertainty at board level. Meanwhile, list manager Ned Guy left his role in the middle of the 2021 season on the back of the disastrous trade period in 2020.
Three-time Brisbane premiership player Craig Macrae was appointed coach after assistant roles at Hawthorn and Richmond - where he coached the VFL team to premiership success in 2019 - and has a task ahead of him to restore the glory days to this proud club.
In: Nathan Kreuger, Patrick Lipinski, Nick Daicos, Arlo Draper, Cooper Murley, Harvey Harrison, Charlie Dean
Out: Levi Greenwood, Chris Mayne, Anton Tohill, Max Lynch, Jay Rantall, Brayden Sier, Josh Thomas
Disposals - 4th
Uncontested Possessions - 1st
Goal Accuracy - 6th
Clearances - 17th
Contested Possessions - 15th
Clangers - 15th
Star player: Brodie Grundy
Grundy is a vital cog in the Collingwood system. With an ability to play across field as well as offering his silver service in the ruck, the two-time Copeland Trophy winner uses the ball perhaps as well as any ruckman in the competition.
A dual All-Australian, Grundy will be looking to return to the form that once had him touted as arguably the best big man in the competition alongside Demon Max Gawn. Should the Magpies star rekindle his best form, Collingwood’s youthful engine room are sure to gain premium access to the Sherrin.
One to watch: Nick Daicos
The hype around son-of-a-gun Nick Daicos has been enormous, and Pies fans will be eager to finally see him in action in 2022. Despite being under 18, many claim he would’ve been in the club’s best 22 in 2021 - before he was taken with pick #4 in the draft.
Father Peter is a Collingwood legend and older brother Josh has managed 52 games since being drafted in 2016, but Nick could prove to be the pick of the trio if he’s half as good as the hype surrounding him.
Under pressure: Jordan de Goey
Enigmatic. Mercurial. Frustrating. Inconsistent. You name the adjective and it probably fits Jordan De Goey. On-field he’s talented, able to turn a match in a quarter off his own boot and capable of pulling off the impossible. In equal measure, he’s capable of going missing without having any impact on the game.
Off-field, De Goey never seems to be far from the headlines. His latest indiscretion, on a night out in New York when he was supposedly in the US on a training mission, was the latest in a string of off-field controversies, and De Goey has already had more chances than most - it’s about time he let his football do the talking.
With a new coach at the helm, Collingwood are well and truly in rebuild mode. There is hope the club has stabilised itself off-field, which should allow them focus on their core business - playing football.
There is enough young talent on the list for fans to get excited about, while there are equally plenty of experienced players to remain competitive more often than not. Ultimately though, this will be a season for blooding youth and building for the future.
Five matches to watch
Round 1 vs. St Kilda, Marvel Stadium, Friday March 18
Round 6 vs. Essendon, MCG, Monday April 25
Round 8 vs. Richmond, MCG, Saturday, May 7
Round 11 vs. Carlton, MCG, TBC
Round 23 vs. Carlton, MCG, TBC
All time games
- Scott Pendlebury - 334
- Tony Shaw - 313
- Gordon Coventry - 306
- Wayne Richardson - 277
- Len Thompson - 268
All time goals
- Gordon Coventry - 1299
- Peter McKenna - 838
- Dick Lee - 707
- Peter Daicos - 549
- Saverio Rocca - 514
MOST DISPOSALS: Jack Crisp - 594
MOST TACKLES: Brodie Grundy - 84
MOST CLEARANCES: Taylor Adams - 100
MOST MARKS: Jack Crisp - 148
MOST GOALS: Brody Mihocek - 34