Scott Pendlebury in action during Collingwood's clash against Sydney in round one, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

SCOTT Pendlebury jokes if he doesn't achieve the next milestone of his glittering career on Anzac Day, the bench beckons.

The Collingwood star is four disposals away from becoming the first player to reach 10,000 career disposals.

Even though the 36-year-old is now more of a role player for the Magpies, he is still averaging more than 18 disposals per game this season.

Pendlebury could have reached five figures last weekend, as the reigning premier returned to form in time for the Anzac Day blockbuster against Essendon with a seven-goal belting of Port Adelaide.

But the midfield general was subbed off late in the game and so becomes a key sub-plot in the biggest game of the home and away season.

"Hopefully I get them on Anzac Day – if I don't, I might be subbed again," Pendlebury said with a sly grin.


Magpies coach Craig McRae, captain Darcy Moore and Bombers skipper Zach Merrett have all heaped on praise this week on Pendlebury, who has amassed 389 games in one of the great AFL careers.

He has won three Anzac Day medals, equalling Essendon great James Hird for the most since this fixture started in 1995.

While Pendlebury is unlikely to win a fourth, he will play a crucial role.

McRae calls him an on-field coach and his influence is most apparent when the game is at its hottest – witness the final term of last year's Grand Final win.

Scott Pendlebury celebrates Collingwood's win in the 2023 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

Pendlebury has played in the last 16 Anzac Day games and no-one understands the occasion better.

Just as Collingwood has rediscovered its mojo, Essendon boasts a 4-2 record and is keen to gain a benchmark against the premier of where it stands.

"It's going to be an awesome game ... obviously both sides go in really confident they can get the job done," Pendlebury said.

"But this game, it doesn't matter. I reckon if it was tomorrow, both sides would go out there and do the day proud."


Pendlebury said last weekend's win was probably the first time this season they have shown their brand of football for so long in a game.

It came after a week off, which gave the Magpies a chance to reset.

The energy that was so apparent in last year's premiership campaign returned as they rallied from a slow first quarter and steamrolled Port.

"Over the break, we just did a bit of work on not trying to be so perfect and expect things to go our way," Pendlebury said.

"We've been riding that rollercoaster a little bit in the first four or five weeks.

"We were really positive, kept doing what we have to do and we know it's 120 minutes.

"Things can turn really quickly in footy .... we headed to the break at 2-3, the coach said it was a good chance to reset, we felt like it was a good chance to reset."

Pat Lipinski celebrates a goal during Collingwood's clash against Port Adelaide in round six, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

One of the most noticeable features of the Port win was starring roles from players who do not normally have the limelight at Collingwood – Pat Lipinski, Will Hoskin-Elliott and Darcy Cameron.

"Sometimes it's your week, sometimes you're in the right spot and it turns your way," Pendlebury said.

"They do their job every week. But you do get a kick out of seeing those guys take centre stage.

"They can do that, but they're also very selfless in the roles they play for us."