Collingwood is one of the few teams to have a successful off-season so far, having picked up a great mix of youth and experience.
The club has turned over almost half of its list and bought in some fresh new talent as well as experienced players to replace the likes of Chris Tarrant, Sharrod Wellingham and Chris Dawes. As many as 15 players from the 2012 list have since departed the club.
The Magpies were lucky enough to secure some serious talent in this year’s draft pool. With three successive picks in a row, they were able to get exactly what they needed in gaining the services of without doubt the best ruckman in the draft in Brodie Grundy with pick 18, a Brent Harvey-like player in Ben Kennedy with pick 19 and talented midfielder Tim Broomhead with pick 20.
The mix of experience and fresh talent that Collingwood has brought into its squad in the off-season could pay some massive dividends in season 2013. Clinton Young is one of these players that comes into the side with plenty of AFL experience. Young, coming from the Hawks, is known for his damaging left-foot kick and is a perfect replacement for Sharrod Wellingham on a wing.
The benefits of these recruits heading into season 2013 is that they are fresh and hoping to make a name for themselves for their fellow teammates, the almighty black and white faithful and more importantly the coaches. They are going to be hungry and determined to be a part of success with the already talented list that the Magpies have.
Young and Jordan Russell, coming from Carlton, both have more than capable kicking skills and will lift the Magpies’ kicking efficiency, creating space for the running types at Collingwood. Young has the ability to be a 100-metre player, as he runs and carries and is a prolific kicker of the ball.
The benefit of acquiring the services of Quinten Lynch from the West Coast Eagles will add a different look to the Collingwood forward line and an amount of uncertainty, considering we don’t know what to expect from Quinten each week.
Arguably the biggest immediate disadvantage for Collingwood is reports of Darren Jolly facing a minor injury. Although Grundy is suggestively ready to play senior football straight away, how he will go if he comes up against the likes of Dean Cox, Sam Jacobs or Aaron Sandilands by himself is questionable.
It has already been said that Grundy will be rotating with another untried ruckman in Jarrod Witts throughout the season. Ben Kennedy and Tim Broomhead will begin their careers as depth players, as Collingwood already has similar players in its best 22. Clinton Young has a long list of injuries and is a big risk by the Magpies but one definitely worth taking, as is Russell, who despite also being injury prone and inconsistent, did finish second to Chris Judd at Carlton in the club’s 2010 best and fairest count.
The future, however, does look very bright for Collingwood, especially with its newest and youngest draftees. Brodie Grundy will be one of the best ruckman in the competition in years to come and will be a perfect replacement for Darren Jolly when the premiership ruckman retires. Ben Kennedy will need time as he has a small, light frame but knows how to break the lines of the opposition and kick goals. Tim Broomhead is a classy young midfielder that will develop well under the likes of Scott Pendlebury, Luke Ball and Dane Swan. Jackson Ramsay is a very talented footballer but will be a project player for the Magpies and will take time.
Despite overhauling the team, Collingwood has positioned itself to have an impact come season 2013 with the acquisition of some incredible young talent and some proven experience.