It must be acknowledged that I am a Collingwood member and i have been a loyal fan for my whole life. I am not anti - Collingwood person who criticises and epitomise everything they do. My four main points that will reiterate my argument are Leadership Pre Season Coaching Nab Cup It must be recognised that Collingwood has great depth throughout there team. 6 All Australians who all rightfully deserved there spot. The best contested mark in the competition, Travis Cloke. Brownlow Medal winner, Dane Swan and club best and fairest, Scott Pendlebury. All these players are easily inside the best 20 in the competition, possibly best 10. But I am not here to asses the teams strengths. Nick Maxwell is undoubtedly the worst playing captain in terms of football skills. As Harry O’Brien exclaimed about Maxwell's influence "It's like having a coach on the field". It is without a doubt that his leadership skills are terrific but it is confusing how a player with his skill is in our top 22. With a constant changing of captains between clubs, we see that there is now an "actions speak louder than words" type of captaincy. I refer to the captains who consistently perform week in, week out, to win games for there teams. Players such as Judd and Ablett most notably. Whilst at North Melbourne, we see that Brent Harvey steps down in order to make way for a young and developing player, Andrew Swallow. Most notably, Mark Neeld has already implemented changes at the club, Brad Green had one of his worst seasons in his career. He was the captain and would of struggled to make there best 22 if he wasn't. What does that say about the club, if there own captain, struggled to play in their respective side. Captains should show leadership skills in times of adversity but should also be able to perform consistently. They should run out in a game being confident that they can have a significant and positive impact. I believe that Maxwell fails to show his impact in a game through his actions. To me, Pendlebury would be a preferred captain. Already rewarded with Vice Captain, he seems to be a major role model to new and upcoming players at the club and also consistently perform in nearly every game he plays. Collingwood have not had the smoothest of Pre Seasons. With the loss of Leon Davis, run of off half back and high kicking efficiency when taking kick outs and also Leigh Brown, great utility (Ruck/ Forward). It will be shown throughout the year the skill the team lost. Players who have basically lost the chance to play of a major part of the year in the side through injury are Andrew Krakouer, lively forward and Brent Macaffer, showed glimpses of excellence in 2010 season, ravaged by injury ever since. Also many players were not able to complete a full pre season most notably, Ben Johnson and Alan Didak. All these players were regarded to be in the top 22 but for one reason or another will not get the advantage of having a full pre season and will be greatly disadvantaged. The greatest fear I have for the club, is how the team will adapt to the new coaching staff. Over the summer we have lost Mark Neeld (Melbourne), Scott Watters (St. Kilda) and most significantly Mick Malthouse. It was the worst of luck for Malthouse, as a previously signed contract forced him to exit his ongoing reign as coach. After the past two seasons of finishing first, playing in three grand finals, winning one, drawing one and losing one, he left at the peak of his career. But as the contract was already in full flight and Buckley eager to fulfil his role as coach, it was all too late and extremely unfortunate. It was when Buckley arrived, opportunities arrived for other assistant coaches to advance to a more senior role as coaching staff disintegrated, new staff came in. Buckley came in with fresh ideas and a plan to slightly alter the clubs tactics and strategies. Our game plan had been exploited by Geelong as seen through our loss in the latter stage of the season (90 odd points) and in the grand final. Or game plan is old and highly knowledgeable, wide and around the boundary. What frightens me the most is Mark Neeld’s transfer to the Melbourne football club. He was our midfield coach and as he cultivated our star players, Pendlebury, Swan and Thomas, he essentially made our midfield into the powerhouse it is today. What can he do with the likes of players from the Melbourne football club and what will he do with them. It will be exciting times for the Melbourne football club over the next couple of years. Honestly, I am not confident with Buckley’s coaching and am extremely anxious on how our team will perform in the season. How will he change our team in terms of our previous coach? How will he alter the game plan? How will he develop our younger players, essentially our future? Is he liked around the club or are players angered that he took Mick’s job? This questions will be answered over time and throughout the 2012 premiership season I know it is only NAB cup, but I already have learned some major insights into the future of our club. Already losing to the Melbourne football club by 10 point’s and Adelaide by 77 points, there was an obvious reminder of how are youngsters face up against other clubs. Not a fully depleted team played against Melbourne two weeks ago and showed very little encouraging signs of where the clubs future was headed. Neeld was obviously familiar with the game plan and on separate occasions was able to turn the game on it’s head by showing strong signs of run through the middle with the likes of an extremely young and talented midfield. In the both games, I have analysed the young players who according to Rodney Eade are “able to fit right comfortably in the best 22”. Lachlan Keeffe, who know plays a defensive role, was ripped to shreds in both games. Playing a similar role to Ben Reid, he played miserably throughout both games and could not play competitively with one on one situations. His stature could not aid him in these battles. Another player, Ben Sinclair, who had not been shown encouraging signs during his games for the club. Yes he is still is very young and requires experience but I will still never remove the memory of him playing against Geelong when the club lost by just over 90 points. It was basically a grade three against a bunch of grown men. He did not look ready for the AFL and from his recent games still does not look ready to play. It will be extremely interesting looking at his role at the club when he does come into our side. Another sign of our need for Brown , was Dawes in the ruck, not winning a single hitout, Buckley seemed to want Dawes to act as a utility. Dawes failed to show any positive signs as he failed to kick goals and collect possession whilst up forward. I honestly hope it is a string of bad games not a complete form slump. This is the current 2012 playing squad ▪ 1 Alex Fasolo ▪ 2 Chris Tarrant (vet) ▪ 3 Andrew Krakouer ▪ 4 Alan Didak ▪ 5 Nick Maxwell (c) ▪ 6 Tyson Goldsack ▪ 8 Harry O'Brien ▪ 9 Martin Clarke ▪ 10 Scott Pendlebury (vc) ▪ 11 Jarryd Blair ▪ 12 Luke Ball ▪ 13 Dale Thomas ▪ 14 Luke Rounds ▪ 15 Jarrod Witts ▪ 16 Nathan Brown ▪ 17 Dayne Beams ▪ 18 Darren Jolly ▪ 19 Cameron Wood ▪ 20 Ben Reid ▪ 21 Sharrod Wellingham ▪ 22 Steele Sidebottom ▪ 23 Lachlan Keeffe ▪ 24 Josh Thomas ▪ 25 Tom Young ▪ 26 Ben Johnson (vet) ▪ 27 Simon Buckley ▪ 28 Ben Sinclair ▪ 29 John Ceglar ▪ 30 Brent Macaffer ▪ 31 Chris Dawes ▪ 32 Travis Cloke ▪ 33 Jackson Paine ▪ 34 Alan Toovey ▪ 35 Jamie Elliott ▪ 36 Dane Swan ▪ 37 Kirk Ugle ▪ 38 Peter Yagmoor ▪ 39 Heath Shaw ▪ 40 Paul Seedsman ▪ 44 Corey Gault It is these previous points, In which i am anxious and do not believe that the club can win ultimate glory in 2012. Geelong or Hawthorn to me seem like more serious contenders for the premiership. If you think otherwise, or agree with my article, please feel free to add your opinion. Everybody is entitled to an opinion and so am I, as not everything I say will be agreed upon. If you wish to contact me and have any further queries, my email is email@example.com or send me a message over BigFooty. My name is Joseph Xuereb and this is my Weekly Spray.