Main content

Pies opt for streamlined leadership group

Collingwood has confirmed Scott Pendlebury's second season as captain - ${keywords}
Collingwood has confirmed Scott Pendlebury's second season as captain

COLLINGWOOD will back its young leaders, headed by elite midfielder Scott Pendlebury, to take the team back into finals contention in 2015.

The Magpies' leadership group has been trimmed from eight to five.  Retirees Luke Ball and Nick Maxwell are absent while Lachlan Keeffe and Clinton Young have been omitted from the 2014 group. 

In their place, Tyson Goldsack has been promoted to join incumbent leaders Travis Cloke, Steele Sidebottom and Nathan Brown as Pendlebury's lieutenants. 

All four will share the official vice captain title. 

In August last year, coach Nathan Buckley asked his younger players, like Sidebottom and Goldsack, to take their leadership to another level.

Buckley's challenge came after the Pies' round 20 loss to West Coast, when they were facing an uphill battle to play into September with Maxwell already retired, Ball and Dane Swan injured, and Brown sidelined with a season-ending shoulder injury. 

He said on Thursday he was "as comfortable as I have been at senior coach" in putting the younger group in charge of the players. 

"They're five very strong leaders, they're all premiership players and they all know what it takes to get there," Buckley said. 

"We want to get back into finals and clearly that's the ambition of all these boys.

"When the players went through the selection process there was a fairly clear delineation between the top five and the rest. 

"We feel that we've really developed our leadership over the last couple of years and the vindication of that is the strength of this leadership group, even with players like Luke Ball and Nick Maxwell moving on from the football club."

Pendlebury, 27, took over from 2010 premiership captain Maxwell just over 12 months ago.

He was appointed as the 46th Collingwood captain ahead of his ninth season.

The five-time All Australian and three-time best and fairest winner is due to celebrate his 200th game this year, against Gold Coast in round eight on May 23.

While the Pies will have just one player aged over 30 on their list this season - Dane Swan - Buckley believes there is enough experience and leadership depth to compensate for their youthful average age.

"We're a young list, we've got a lot of players who are 22 and under, but we've also got 12 premiership players on the list," he said. 

"I think that's fairly unique. We have some really strong leadership and understanding at the top end and we've got some really strong young, emerging leaders coming through as well."

He said Goldsack's promotion into his first leadership role came after he started to show the necessary qualities to lead his teammates over a consistent period. 

"I think the first port of call is consistency of performance," he said.

"I think in the past 12 months Tyson's ability to challenge and demand from his teammates was a real standout for us."

The Magpies have also extended their alliance with platinum partner Holden for another three years.