Welcome to Part 6 of 120 Years of Collingwood. Today’s part reveals the lower half of the top ten players. We have 14 Premierships, 11 Copeland Trophies, eight goal-kicking awards and three Champions of the Colony/Brownlow Medals between the five players. It will cause controversy as some are rated higher, but these are my 6-10.
10. Jack Regan (1930-41, 1943, 1946) 196 Games, 3 Goals [2 Premierships, 1 B&F, 3 Yr Captain]
Jack Regan is regarded as the greatest full-back in Collingwood’s history and is considered by many as equal to Stephen Silvagni. He came to Collingwood in 1930 but only played four games in his debut year as Charlie Dibbs and Albert Collier held down key defensive posts. He began as a forward, but after switching to defence, never moved.
He was seen as quick, skilful and graceful and as opposed to Dibbs, preferred marking the ball to punching it. Regan won the 1936 Copeland Trophy and more importantly dominated Bob Pratt in the semi-final and Grand Final, holding him to just four goals total for those games.
He was considered a lynchpin in the defence and was made captain in 1940. While his career was interrupted by war service, he will still be remembered as one of the greats, not only at Collingwood, but in the VFL as well.
9. Phonse Kyne (1934-44, 1946-50) 245 Games, 237 Goals [2 Premierships, 3 B&F, 4 Yr Captain]
Phonse Kyne is best remembered as the coach who followed on from McHale, giving Collingwood the 1953 and 1958 Premierships. But, like McHale, he was also a super player who notched up almost 250 games at Centre Half Forward and making the Team of the Century.
His career began in 1934 and by his third season he was a dual premiership player. In 1936 he finished third in the Copeland Trophy and earned a place for Victoria. While already a super player, it was to be the 1940s which would place Kyne under the ‘elite’ bracket of players to have ever played the game. He was handed the captaincy in 1942 before heading to war.
He returned in 1946, was given the captaincy again and proceeded to win three consecutive Copeland Trophies – the first Collingwood player to do so. In 1950, Kyne became the captain-coach, before becoming the non-playing coach from 1951 till 1963. In that time he won two premierships as coach and became an immortal Collingwood legend.
8. Dick Lee (1906-1922) 230 Games, 707 Goals [3 Premierships, 8 Colemans*, 2 COTC*, 2 Yr Captain]
Dick Lee was the champion player of the early 20th Century, topping the goal kicking eight times and winning the Champion of the Colony twice. From 1906-1910 he outscored everyone else and was seen as the most dangerous forward who could do just about anything. He had great goal sense, could read the play superbly and was a strong mark with a huge leap.
In the premiership year of 1910, Lee booted a record 58 goals including six on two occasions. From 1914-17, Lee won a further four consecutive league goal kicking awards, and began to show courage, continually playing injured.
After missing the first two finals in 1917, Lee came into the side for the Grand Final completely unfit, only to boot four goals and help lead the side to victory. While he missed most of 1918 with the knee injury which plagued him late the previous season, he bounced back in 1919 to become a triple premiership player and again top the team’s goal kicker, including booting twenty goals in three games in the month of August.
Lee continued to boot goals until 1922, finishing with just over 700; a league record at the time. His best was against University in 1914 where he booted an unbelievable 11 goals. While Dick Lee was a champion in his own right and his own era, it proved impossible to try and split hairs with him and the top ten players. Without a doubt, Dick Lee was Collingwood’s second greatest full forward behind Gordon Coventry.
7. Bob Rose (1946-1955) 152 Games, 214 Goals [1 Premiership, 4 B&F]
Bob Rose is a tough man to place in Collingwood’s history. Some believe he is Collingwood’s greatest player, others believe he belongs behind the ‘Machine team’s’ best and a few more modern champions. For a man who only played 152 Games, Bob Rose seemed to impress everyone whether he played up forward or in the middle. He was seen as a tough customer who was quick, courageous and highly skilled.
Along with Ted Whitten, he was considered one of the most inspirational people in football. After debuting in 1946, it took Rose just four seasons to claim his first Copeland Trophy. By 1953 he had won four and became a premiership player. That same year he finished runner-up in the Brownlow Medal and continued his good form until 1955 when injuries struck him down. Rose is considered a champion player and was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame, and despite never being awarded the role of captain, he is the centre man in the Collingwood Team of the Century. As an honour to his courageousness, the AFLPA’s most courageous player award is named after him.
6. Albert Collier (1925-30, 1933-39) 205 Games, 54 Goals [6 Premierships, 3 B&F, 1 Brownlow]
Albert Collier is the Centre Half Back in Collingwood Team of the Century. As many Collingwood and non-Collingwood fans know, when you talk about the Colliers or Coventrys, you know you are dealing with the cream of the crop. Albert Collier debuted at just 15 years of age, playing at full forward for Collingwood in 1925. 12 months later Gordon Coventry had secured the spot, so Albert settled in defence where he played for the rest of his career, alternating in the ruck.
In 1929 Albert Collier won the Brownlow Medal, Copeland Trophy and played for Victoria at just 20-years-old. Collier was courageous, quick and strong, which made him a fearsome opponent for many key forwards. In 1931, after winning four premierships with the Magpies, he shocked officials by heading to Tasmania to coach.
That only lasted two seasons, with Collier returning in 1933 to win back-to -back Copeland Trophies in 1934-5 and pick up another two premierships by 1936. By the time Albert retired in 1939, he achieved all he could achieve, winning six premierships, three Copeland Trophies and a Brownlow Medal.