A Mr. Fix It, the life and soul: The Tyson Goldsack tale

He was always battling against the odds.

 

After a childhood where he grew up playing footy in the surrounds of Pakenham, Tyson Goldsack fought his way to the TAC Cup level at a later age than most of his teammates. Playing for the Gippsland Power in the 2005 and 2006 seasons, he would have a pre-season in between these years to train with Hawthorn. Once rejected, the final year was his last shot at making the big time. As a mature age player about to turn 19, Goldsack’s AFL dream was hanging by a thread.

 

Fast forward 12 years. A lot of water has gone under the bridge.

 

A bearded and much wiser Goldsack is deep in the bowels of the Holden Centre, known as the famous home of the Collingwood Football Club. Goldsack, one of the club’s greatest servants, puts himself through his paces, completing his rehabilitation and strengthening the ACL he had surgery on just six months before. In a near-fairytale story, Goldsack manages to make himself available for selection, being thrown to the wolves in Collingwood’s first finals appearance since 2013. Coming up against the champion goalkicker in Josh Kennedy at the western fortress of Optus Stadium, the bearded utility will defend for his life, restricting the danger player to two goals. He’ll then become a key pillar of a Magpies outfit that tip-toes past GWS and then blasts heavy favourites Richmond out of the finals race. On Grand Final day, he’ll once again keep Kennedy to three goals, helping an undersized defence nullify the tall targets West Coast possess. Unfortunately, the story is shattered by a five-point loss. Yet ‘Goldy’ resurrected his AFL dream and nearly collected a second Premiership medallion for it.

 

With a quick pace and steady hands, Goldsack has always endeared himself to the black and white faithful since being picked up at pick 63 of the 2006 draft. Many draft picks in the fourth round struggle to ever make it to an AFL debut – it should’ve been obvious after his struggle to get drafted that Goldsack was always going to be a wonderful player.

 

Making his unexpected debut in 2007, his wonderful defensive play gave him a regular spot on the team and a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination after blanketing champion Sydney full-forward Michael O’Loughlin for the second time that year. It wasn’t just 2018 where Goldsack was given the toughest challenges in difficult circumstances – his early scalps in his first few games including O’Loughlin and Buddy Franklin. If that isn’t a fierce indoctrination, then nothing is.

 

Despite his hard-work and gritty approach to defending, Goldsack never got an uninterrupted run at becoming a champion. Injuries were ever-present. But this didn’t stop the ‘sack’ from being a vital part of Mick Malthouse’s plans. After being an important utility, a ‘Mr. Fix It’, his crowning moment would come in the early days of October 2010.

 

Coming in for the hit-or-miss small forward Leon Davis after the Pies’ infamous 2010 Grand Final draw with St Kilda, Goldsack would set the tone early. The beating heart of the Collingwood group floated forward, taking a strong mark just 20 metres out from the City End goal. With his mother notoriously putting money on her son to kick the first goal due to the inflated odds, Goldsack strolled in and sent the Magpie cheer squad into raptures. From there, he would be a part of a rampant black and white outfit that would pressure St Kilda into submission, giving the number six a Premiership medal for the role he played.

 

If the 2010 Premiership was to return the sailing to smooth around the Magpie camp, then they were sadly mistaken. Required once more as paper to smooth over injury cracks in key positions, he was unable to help the 2011 side that fell to Geelong on Grand Final day. But he sure would’ve been handy when Ben Reid’s injury-prone body couldn’t keep up with an in-form Tom Hawkins. One could only imagine what he could’ve done to stop the tide.

 

2012 was seen as a different season for Goldsack. No longer the reliable defender required by Collingwood, he was swung forward with great effect. His booming right boot, often seen spiralling kick outs into the centre square of the ‘G, now helped him to boot 24 goals as a mid-sized forward. Supporting the likes of Travis Cloke, Goldsack would be a pivotal forward ingredient for the Magpies side that fell short in the Preliminary Final.

 

With Buckley coming in and weeding out the old Premiership players, Goldsack would enter the next stage of his career as the constant veteran. Often tossed both back and forward, he would prove to be valuable for a maturing team requiring the steady hand of experience. In the space of five years, Goldsack had gone from a barely considered mature age draft pick to a wise head at the biggest club in Australia.

 

2017 was his crowning year as a tough defender. A decade after his breakthrough year, Goldsack would return to a key defensive post and thrive. His grit and determination would prove invaluable, and his impact around the club was such that he won the Darren Millane Perpetual Memorial Trophy as Collingwood’s best clubman. In many ways, he was an embodiment of the great defender, helping out the club in a time of need where the team couldn’t break out of middle-table positions. A key example is his efforts in a 2017 match against Fremantle. With finals all but out of the equation, he played on through injuries and managed to set up goals, despite barely being able to lift his arm. He was the quiet fighter, the unheralded hero of a Collingwood side under siege. But all was to change in 2018.

 

 

An ACL injury in the JLT Community Series had effectively ruined his season. When Collingwood resurged and found their way into the top four, Goldsack was all but forgotten. The lovable number six who put his head down and just worked for the club was to be watching from the sidelines. Or so we all thought.

 

Injuries to Scharenberg and Darcy Moore, alongside Lynden Dunn, had cruelled Collingwood of any tall defensive players. Once again, Buckley called upon Goldsack just half a year after surgery. With his mind undoubtedly plagued with fear of how his knee will hold up in the test of finals footy, Goldsack handled the pressure with aplomb. Directing his young and smaller defenders against behemoth line ups in GWS and West Coast, he can be seen as one of the biggest influences on the likes of Maynard, Langdon and Crisp. He had his hands full with Jack Riewoldt in the Preliminary Final, but managed to keep him quiet when it mattered. His braveness continued into the big dance, where he fell cruelly short of the Premiership medal he deserved for his heroics.

 

2019 would’ve been incredibly tough for Goldsack. With his September efforts still fresh in everyone’s minds, he couldn’t break into the line up when previously injured big men returned. The acquisition of Jordan Roughead all but rendered Goldsack obsolete. But what did Goldsack do? Of course, he went back to the VFL and provided learning and teaching for the next wave of young players. Whether it be forward or back, Goldsack imparted his wealth of knowledge, and ultimately benefited Collingwood in a new way. It can be said that Goldsack is Collingwood – he is black and white to his very core. Since arriving in 2007, he has embodied everything Collingwood without so much as a whimper.

 

With only four weeks remaining until Goldsack walks out of the Holden Centre for what may be the final time, his absence may impact Collingwood more than outsiders will expect. He was always a stalwart to fans, a constant throughout both tough and good times. It’s hard to find anyone who didn’t like Goldsack – he just went out and worked bloody hard to get the job done. And although it looks like he has played his final game for Collingwood, one thing his career has taught us is to never discount the bearded warrior from pushing his way into the thick of it when his Magpies need him most.

 

Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.

 

Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE

 

Leave a Comment

*