The Magpie Abdication and the True Heir to the Throne

With Scott Pendlebury stepping down from the Collingwood captaincy, it is an excellent time to take a step back and reflect on what has been an incredible career…

… so far, at least.

He ain’t done just yet.

What do you remember about a young Scott Pendlebury in the league? His feel for the game? The ability to extract the footy? I can remember the early days of Pendles in the AFL. As demonstrated so often over the next 17 years, his skill and decision-making set him apart from those around him, making him one of the most damaging and consistently reliable players in the game. We have all spoken countless times about his ability to buy time on the field. In a game so rushed, so frantic, and so manic, at times resembling a Dehli intersection, Pendles had the knack of taking his foot off the accelerator and just allowing the hustle and bustle to do its thing around him. The world would drift past as he seemingly stood still.

He had the footy – they were all just swapping lanes and beeping their horns unnecessarily.

Legendary Hawthorn coach, Allan Jeans would often throw his defender, Gary Ayres into the middle when the going got tough. He described his mulleted champion as “a good driver in heavy traffic”.

Pendlebury’s understanding of the game and ability to make it work for him made Ayres look like he was still on his P-Plates. Pendles was the guy on the Dodge ‘Em cars who never got hit and would laugh as everyone else got caught in a pile-up. So good was he, that many predicted he would win multiple Brownlows very early in his career. That’s always a strange one to predict.

Though he never quite scaled the mountain many thought he would, the now-former skipper ascended to numerous other lofty platforms in the game.

A premiership player, a Norm Smith Medal, an AFLCA Champion Player of the Year award, six All-Australian selections, five Copeland trophies, and three Anzac Medals – I reckon the lack of a Brownlow wouldn’t cause him to lose too much sleep.

Yes, the record books will be kind to the Collingwood champion.


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