'Every player starts to fade': Grim Pies reality exposed

‘Every player starts to fade’: Grim Pies reality exposed

AFL icon Leigh Matthews has put the blowtorch on Collingwood‘s older brigade as the Magpies scramble to correct an 0-3 start to their premiership defence.

A shock 15-point loss to St Kilda on Friday followed defeats at the hands of the Giants and Swans.

The club’s roster has nine players aged in their 30s.

READ MORE: Struggling Souths urged to axe star who ‘lost his way’

READ MORE: Eels star’s ‘resilience’ lauded after death of brother

READ MORE: Aussie’s near miss as ‘nasty’ crash leaves star fuming

Their long-time midfield general Scott Pendlebury is 36 and on the verge of reaching the ultra rare 400-game milestone.

He is joined by Steele Sidebottom (33), Jeremy Howe (33), Mason Cox (33), Brody Miochek (31), Jamie Elliott (31), Tom Mitchell (30), Jack Crisp (30), and Will Hoskin-Elliott (30) in the Dad’s Army category.

Matthews fears some – including Pendlebury – are suddenly showing their age after leading the team to grand final glory only six months ago.

“We know they’re playing poorly – their fundamentals… it is a ball sport, you’ve got to be able to handle the ball cleanly, not fumble, keep possession under pressure” Matthews told Nine’s Footy Furnace on Sunday.

“They are making too many mistakes, kicking themselves in the foot a bit and therefore the opposition are finding a way to finish on top of them.

Footy Classified is now available as a podcast! Subscribe/follow via Apple, Spotify or Google Podcasts

“The problem is they’ve started badly, and they have got an ageing list.

“At the end of 2022 when Geelong were dominant they had about eight or nine players over 30, and Collingwood are in the same vein going from ’23 to ’24.

“They have got a lot of ageing players in their team, and you’re never quite sure whether players will be able to keep… Scott Pendlebury is 36, been an outstanding player, but eventually every player starts to fade.

“If Collingwood have got a big chunk of that that’s just a basic, fundamental situation. When you see all those players are that old, you know there are going to be some issues about how good those players are going to be.”

Jimmy Bartel was running around in a Geelong jumper until he was almost 33 and knows as well as anyone how tough life in the AFL can become for older players.

But he says Collingwood’s form slump is simply making the older brigade look their age, and believes they can be reinvigorated by fixing some simple issues.

The Magpies have been hammered for only working on one side of the ball – or putting all their energy into attack and dropping off when it comes time to defend.

“You’re always going to look older and slower when you’re chasing backside back towards your own goal, and that’s been their big problem,” Bartel told Footy Furnace.

“You can look a lot older and a lot slower if you don’t take care of the fundamentals.”

Collingwood next faces Brisbane in a grand final rematch at the Gabba on Thursday.

Both teams are winless to start 2024, after playing a thrilling 2023 decider which the Magpies won by four points.

Check Also

Chelsea forward Cole Palmer.

Premier League Golden Boot race hots up as Cole Palmer chases down Erling Haaland total

Cole Palmer’s recent goal haul for Chelsea has put him in late contention for the …

Leave a Reply