On the back of a sensational, if surprising, season, Collingwood are heading into the new year being tipped by many to be one of the front runners in 2019. Having finished outside the top-10 for four seasons in a row, it came as something of an upset that the Magpies ended the regular season third in the AFL ladder. Collingwood weren’t finished there, however, recovering from a defeat to West Coast in the opening round of the finals and going on to reach the grand final. While they couldn’t get over that final hurdle, losing in the grand final to the Eagles, their success breathed new life into a club that hadn’t reached that stage since 2011.
One of the key factors behind Collingwood’s achievements last season was star-forward Jordan De Goey. The 22-year old established himself as one of the best players in the league last season, kicking a career-high 48 goals from 21 appearances to lead his side’s goalscoring charts. De Goey also averaged an impressive 16.1 disposals, highlighting the power and agility that made him the fifth overall pick in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft. While it had been clear that De Goey was a real talent, last year showed just how important he is to this team.
A foot injury sustained during the back end of last year meant he started preseason on a modified schedule that saw him only return to full training in December after working his way back to fitness. De Goey’s comeback plans were dealt a blow, however, with the forward struck down by an illness that kept him out of Collingwood’s final training session of the year. The Pies were quick to come out to play down De Goey’s illness, though, insisting it wouldn’t have an impact on their star man’s plans to start the season for Collingwood.
For the Magpies, having De Goey fully fit and ready to go when the season gets underway is crucial to their hopes of getting off to a strong start. Currently priced at around 7/1 with the latest AFL betting odds, it’s clear to everyone that Collingwood are going to be one of the stronger teams this year. While they were heavily underrated and underestimated by opponents last season, it will be a very different story this time around. Head coach Nathan Buckley must take a lot of credit for Collingwood’s success in 2018, but he’ll be aware the pressure will be on his shoulders this time around.
De Goey, meanwhile, will be a man with a target on his back this season. Between the youngster Will Hoskin-Elliott, Josh Thomas and Jaidyn Stephenson, the team’s forwards contributed 166 goals between them last year – and it will be this forward line that will be tasked with scoring the goals that take the club to the finals. If they can replicate their prolific form this season, and the rest of the team can find the level of consistency they produced last year, this could end up being a truly memorable campaign for Collingwood.