FRANK Costa would never have wanted this said about him. But he may have been, quite possibly was, the single biggest influence on the mid-2000s rebirth of the Geelong Football Club.

To Costa, the Cats' success, culminating not just in the 2007, 2009 and 2011 premierships but an all-encompassing and an all-too-rare attitude where every single match of football is one that should be won, was always based on the collective where no one was bigger than the next person.

To Costa, a magnificent person who died on the weekend aged 83, the real heroes were those central to game day – Gary Ablett, Joel Selwood, Mark Thompson, Stevie Johnson, Matty Scarlett, Jimmy Bartel, Tom Harley, Paul Chapman, Corey Enright, Cameron Ling and so many others. 

Costa never had a kick, dished off a handball or took a mark but as Cats president from 1998 he galvanised not just the Geelong Football Club but the Geelong community. When, a year into his tenure as Cats president, Gary Ayres walked out as coach and went to Adelaide, Costa took a breath, assessed all options, and properly started the rebuild that has led to one of the more extraordinary periods of VFL/AFL success.

Costa also recruited another equally crucial component to the success that was to follow – CEO Brian Cook. Everything Costa did for Geelong – club and community – was done with humility and care. And that was always most important to him. The success he led was merely a by-product of what really mattered to him.

Geelong president Frank Costa and CEO Brian Cook celebrate the Cats' 2007 premiership win. Picture: AFL Photos

Pick-and-choose Power can't be trusted

There appears to be a bit of West Coast's soft-track bully persona to Port Adelaide.

Unflinching in its commitment to every single contest in matches at Adelaide Oval but at times – including Saturday night's match against Brisbane at the Gabba – a pick-and-choose outfit when matters seem a bit tough. 

At their best, the Power are premiership favourites, but given they have now turned it up twice inside four weeks in an away engagement – a round three loss to West Coast the other questionable performance – their credentials have question marks.

Can't imagine Port would have dared played the horrible and lethargic way they did against the Lions had its spiritual leader Travis Boak been available.

Port Adelaide's Charlie Dixon during the Power's loss to Brisbane in round seven, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Under-fire Pies need to sort this mess out

Collingwood, historically, doesn't appoint mere mortals as coach. Current coach is an under-pressure Nathan Buckley. Before him: Mick Malthouse, Tony Shaw, Leigh Matthews, Bob Rose, John Cahill, Tom Hafey.

Collingwood, historically, doesn't have low-profile people in its presidency chair. Eddie McGuire, Kevin Rose, Allan McAlister, Ranald Macdonald. Now, it's Mark Korda, a massive name in the liquidation industry, not necessarily known in the wider public.

Collingwood was once the biggest club in Australia. It is not now. Richmond has surged past it. The West Coast Eagles are in front on most measures. The NRL's Melbourne Storm have as much market clout, and clearly more recent success.

Jordan De Goey and his Collingwood teammates leave the MCG after losing to Gold Coast in round seven, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

What Collingwood does next is crucial to its re-establishment. At 1-6 in the 2021 season, the finals are not a possibility, Saturday's loss to Gold Coast at the MCG the latest setback to those hopes. The Magpies probably never were a finals possibility after the debacle of the 2020 Trade Period. So, the remaining 15 matches of the season are irrelevant when it comes to the club determining the credentials of Buckley. There is a 10-year body of work it can use to make that decision.

But to isolate the Buckley decision as the main dilemma for Collingwood would be a cop-out. The board is a mess. Its divisions are deep. That actual board, which ultimately allowed its football department to end up in the unmitigated mess that led to the 2020 Trade Period, doesn't deserve the right to decide any aspect of future operations.

It's full time for an extraordinary general election to be called to sort this mess out.

05:28 Mins
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