Almanac Teams: The Unluckiest Magpies

Collingwood coach Bob Rose shortly before the end of the 1970 GF.


So the Pies have made another Grand Final? No surprises there as that is what we do.


We’re just not very good at winning them.


Since we last beat Richmond in a final in 1937 our Grand Final Record reads:


4 Wins – 2 Draws – 17 Losses


Grand Final week brings out a dark urgency in me as a fan. I’m tainted by experiencing the 1977-81 failures between the ages of 8 to 12. 1990 and 2010 eased the pain a little, but those childhood scars are permanent.


My world-view leading up to Collingwood Grand Finals would make Danny from Droop Street sound like a motivational speaker by comparison.


I tentatively hope for the best and expect the worst. The Weagles should be confident. 80 years of history is on their side.


I often think of the wonderful Collingwood champions who missed out on a premiership and how they will be feeling as we run out for our 44th GF on Saturday.


This team is dedicated to their memory, their misfortune and to their courage for having to live with being Collingwood champions who never tasted the ultimate success.


Plenty to choose from here Pie fans. Who are your nominations?



B: Stan Magro                       Peter McCormack                   Ted Potter


HB: Terry Waters                       Billy Picken                          Scott Burns


C: Ricky Barham                      Barry Price                           John Greening


HF: Des Tuddenham                Ross Dunne                         Chris Tarrant


F: Peter Moore                         Peter McKenna                    Leon Davis


Ruck: Len Thompson               Nathan Buckley                   Wayne Richardson


IC: Rene Kink       Ronnie Wearmouth    Paul Licuria        Ray Shaw


Coach: Bob Rose


Entertainment: Johnny Cash – Man in Black – “For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold.”



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About Phillip Dimitriadis

Carer/Teacher/Writer. Author of Fandemic: Travels in Footy Mythology. World view influenced by Johnny Cash, Krishnamurti, Larry David, Toni Morrison and Billy Picken.


  1. Man, that Bob Rose expression says it all.

    Will Bucks be smiling on Saturday?

  2. Helluva team Phil. I reckon you’ve nailed it. Handy team. A few more that spring to mind from the 2002-03 era: Rocca, Clement, Presti, Lockyer, Fraser and O’Bree, with a lot of those guys also just missing out in 2010.

  3. Danielle Eid says

    DUNNY :(
    And i have to say Fas
    Bc i love Fas, hes too beautiful.

  4. I would rather have O’Bree in the forward pocket than Davis, if for no other reason than Davis did not perform well in finals. Didn’t he go kickless in 2002 GF? DB’s first three deserve special mention too. Although controversial, Carman was one of the most gifted players I ever saw even if his presence in black and white was relatively fleeting. He was very much a major reason the Pies went from last in 1976 to GF in 1977; and his absence a major reason we did not win it.

  5. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Can’t contribute on this one, PD but I love the concept.
    The Eeyore approach.
    Hope you find a little bit of Tigger before Sat.

  6. For the older types: Colin Tully,Max Urquhart,Rick Watt, Ronnie Wearmouth & George Bissett.

    All are chosen for different reasons,all would enjoy a premiership on their resume.


  7. Neil Anderson says

    They did a profile/what are they doing now story on Billy Picken in the Warrnambool Standard last Saturday. Part of the story was about losing all those grand-finals and how well he played. The other part was about his son Liam who starred in the 2016 finals and how Billy was rapt for him and the Bulldogs’ success. It sounded like Liam experiencing that grand-final win almost made up for him missing out. Almost.

  8. Excellent team, Phil. Some of our greatest players, many of them far greater than players from other clubs in the 60s, 70s and 80s who did win premierships. You haven’t named a captain. It should be Des Tuddenham, who was the best Collingwood captain not to lead a premiership winning team.

    Leon Davis should not be in your team, because even though he was replaced after the draw (by Tyson Goldsack who will be playing on Saturday) he was still awarded a premiership medal. Ray Shaw should be promoted to forward pocket and Max Richardson added to the bench. Other than that it is a brilliant team.

  9. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Frank Tuck? He was captain in ’58 but missed with injury. Suspended in 1953. He played in 1952,55,56 losses. Probably should be in the team.

  10. Tim Dimitriadis says

    Hey brother.

    I was feeling reasonably confident until I read your piece.
    Thanks for taking me back. Not a bad side though. Many, many Pies missing.
    What about Graeme Jerka Jenkins.. No Jezza you beauty without him.

    Go Pies…PLEASE.

  11. Love it Phil.
    What a strong team!

    MdH – love your Eeyore comment. (And Tigger).
    And JB – agreed. Wonderfully poignant photo of Bobby Rose.

    On now to a new beginning…

  12. Luke Reynolds says

    Great team Phil.
    4-2-17 that record is heartbreaking and horrific.
    Always felt for Alan Richardson, deserved to be there in 1990, cruelled by injury.
    Ron McKeown was one of my favourites and desperately unlucky not to play in 1990, handy at either end and could have easily held a key back role ahead of those selected.
    Then there’s Sav Rocca, could have made a big difference in 02 & 03 along with a couple of other guys Grumpy Mick got rid of who got to play in flags.

  13. Love it LB! You and Litza (and of course JTH) set the bar for the rest of us. It’s a bar we all aspire to, struggling as we are to get halfway there.

    The Johnny Cash call fits perfectly. On Saturday may your Pies play with the enthusiasm of Springsteen counting to four (I got that from a great Twitter thread) rather than his primal scream in Backstreets.


  14. george smith says

    Some legendary folks left out
    Phil Carman missed out on a grand final side for hitting Michael Tuck IN ’77. Bit of Alanis Morrisette here, Michael won more premierships than anybody, but Phil never got another chance at the big time. Would have been a premiership player had he kept his cool.

    Brian Taylor – left out of the ’82 grand final side for Richmond. That caused a snit with coach Francis Bourke, and Brian ended up at Collingwood. In spite of his heroic deeds, when the next premiership chance came in 1990, his knees were shot, and he was replaced by the more mobile forward line of Brown and Manson. He did however immortalise himself by writing a book, which everyone hated but is now the best record of those times. MC at the 2010 celebrations, all our prodigal sons come back.

    Andrew Krakeour – the star of 2011, missed out on a premiership but not quite. He played a big part in the 2011 night premiership, which is a good consolation prize for those who missed out in 2010 – Leon Davis, Chris Tarrant, John McCarthy and bizarrely Simon Buckley and Lachlan Keefe. The other Baldwin brother of premierships, I love it just as much. It is special because it is the only night premiership we won as reigning premiers.

    Jason McCartney – the hero of Bali and North champ was actually a high profile Collingwood recruit. After 3 ordinary years at Collingwood he demanded a clearance to Adelaide. after more ordinariness he ended up at North where he became a champion defender. Unfortunately he was suspended on the eve of the grand final and missed a place in North’s 1999 premiership team. The old Collingwood curse followed him there…

  15. For the sake of balance, though in this context it may be considered unhelpful, I point out that football woe to some brings abundant joy to others. #baggers #jesaulenkoyoubeauty

  16. Brilliant stuff, LB.
    Good luck to the Pies on Saturday.

  17. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    JB – It would be a sweet 16 if the Pies saluted, equaled Carlton’s record in the same year that the Blues won the spoon !
    DB – Great nominations there. Agree with all but Rocca because of his brain-fade in the 2003 Prelim. Rupert Betheras, Shane Wakelin, Heath Scotland?

    Danni – Great seeing you and Christian at Margaret Court. We got the place rocking ! Fas for 2011 a great nomination. Go Pies !!

    MdH – It’s funny, but if you asked my students they would tell you I’m positive, encouraging and optimistic most of the time. Collingwood must bring out the inner Eyeore !

    BOD – Good nominations. I didn’t include Carman because he didn’t play in a losing Grand Final. Otherwise he’d be a certain starter.

    Neil – Almost for Billy indeed. Liam Picken’s 2016 final series will not easily be forgotten. He was an inspiration for the Dogs.

    Glen ! – George Bissett didn’t play in a losing Grand Final, although he was close in 1973 when we lost the prelim to Richmon after being 7 goals up. Watt, Tully and Urquart great noms. Ronnie Wearmouth is on the bench in this team. Ian Graham, Laurie Hill and Lee Adamson come to mind from that era.

    Dave N – Tuddenham would have to be captain. Leon Davis got a medal, but does it really count if he wasn’t on the field when it mattered? Max Richardson a fair nomination despite miserable efforts in both ’77 GF’s. Kevin Worthington, Ray Byrne and Craig Davis ?

    Timothy – Good old ‘Jerker’ or ‘The Back on Which Jezza Jumped’. Great nomination. Hard to replace Thompson and Patata Moore as rucks. Denis O’Callaghan and Robert Dean ?

    ER – New beginnings , new logo, new attitude. We all must adapt in order to prosper.

    Luke – ‘Heartbreaking and Horrific’ stats indeed. Richardson, McKeown and Sav never got to play in a Grand Final for the Pies so they are not eligible for this team. However, I agree with your sentiments about Sav and Grumpy Mick. Presti also unlucky to miss in this team at full back.

    Rick – Cheers mate. I caught up with Damien the other day and we were astonished to see that we , like your good self, have been contributing to FA for over 10 years. Says much about the site and the community. I do miss Litza, though, especially since Carlton won another spoon this year.Springsteen’s ‘Badlands’ resonates with me in many ways, especially as a Pies fan. Cheers.

    George – Andrew Krakouer’s 2011 is still one of my cherished Collingwood memories. Wish he’d got a premiership medal that year. He was brilliant. Carman and BT definitely if they had actually played in GF’s.

    Interesting Fact: Every person who has coached Collingwood in a losing Grand Final has been involved in a Premiership either as a coach or player. The only exception is Nathan Buckley. Let’s hope this changes by 5:00pm on Saturday.


  18. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    A (relatively) unrelated thought overnight … but prompted by De Goey. Is there a team of de Somethings? As a de Hauteclocque, that’s one I’d like to see. Obviously not this week – your thoughts are elsewhere. I suppose you might need to make way for the Italian version. And maybe the Le Somethings too à la LeCras …

  19. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Thanks Smokie. Dizzy heights mate. Enjoying the ride so far.

    MdH – What a brilliant idea. le la de da ? Got half a team jotted down already. Will also add meanings of the names where possible and post in the next week or so. Merci

  20. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Guess, that makes Buckley coach now.
    Bobby Rose can rest in piece.

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