Cam Hooke’s Collingwood Life: 2020 Opening remarks


Cam Hooke writes a weekly letter to an email list of Collingwood True Believers assessing the fortunes of the club and all matters Magpie. He allows The Footy Almanac to reproduce his thoughts. We think there’s much in them for the Magpie Army.



Dear True Believers,



Last Year?


After the surprise ending to 2018 (in my view making the GF was a surprise; the score at the end of Q1 was unbelievable), we all had high hopes for 2019.


We started poorly with three Losses (though this could be argued as reflecting our opponents in those matches who all turned up in the Finals). But a start from 11th position on the Ladder after Round 3 was a challenge; as was our decision to mostly stop Winning after our Round 13 Bye. But we had a dream run to the Finals. Our QF Win over Geelong was, I think, our best performance for the year; followed two weeks later by our worst against GWS. And our season was over.



Issues of concern:


The Game Plan: Pretty sound.


My perennial bitches – ‘winning the Hit Outs but losing the Clearances’ and ‘Disposal Effectiveness’.


A really good read: It highlights my constant concern that Hit Outs are not enough; the key measure is the resulting Clearance statistics.


As for Disposal Effectiveness, some of our players are leading the competition in Touches. Pity that an Effectiveness rating frequently leads to about half of these possessions being wasted. More attention needs to be given to where the snaps, particularly out of the Centre, are going, and to whom. Sometimes just a little pause can be so helpful in deciding this. Buckley, as a player, and Pendles, currently, always look(ed) like they have/had time to decide.


And another, ‘less significant’ issue, is seeking to pass the ball to a position in front of goal where a major is almost inevitable. The game has changed – we can’t handover possession for a measly Behind these days. So, be prepared to move the ball.


The Team:


We have an interesting List; the oldest – average nearly 25 yo (five players over 30 (excluding Beams)) and close to the most experienced – average just over 75 games per player (nine players with over 150 games).


Significant Changes:

  • Darcy Cameron, ruck and tall forward from Sydney. I am reminded of Witts’ departure at the end of 2016. Remember he was our ruck ahead of Grundy until he was injured at the start of that season. My reports (I checked) regularly recommended both players be on the ground. I don’t think it ever happened. We’ll see how Bucks uses Cameron.
  • Retirements – Goldie and Wells. Guys, our thanks. And Aish, off to Freo. Good luck and thanks also.

Our Best from last year: E.W. Copeland Trophy

How they vote: The five members of the coaching panel each award up to 22 votes for each game (there is no minimum). The player then gets an average score for each game.


Top 10
1. Brodie Grundy 174 votes
2. Scott Pendlebury 158
3. Jack Crisp 147
4. Adam Treloar 141
5. Brayden Maynard 124
6. Steele Sidebottom 118
7. Tom Phillips 116
8. Jeremy Howe 115
9. Brody Mihocek 106
10. Jordan Roughead 105


Player Location


Okay, where do you play Reid? Where do you play De Goey? Maybe we should be pushing Pendles forward more? Should Elliott be pushed into the Midfield? Should we be swapping Grundy and Cameron out of the Forward line? Many, many questions.


What do you think? Pick one player and suggest where he should be playing?




  • Rule Changes. I haven’t seen any this year. There are a few being played with in the AFLW that I simply don’t understand. God protect us. But an amusing read is the history of rule changes.
  • Incorrect Disposal / Caught with the ball? Can anyone explain this to me?

What other Issues do you think are critical?


Season Success?


Our Season starts with:

  • Western Bulldogs
  • Richmond
  • Hawthorn; and
  • Brisbane (in Brisbane).


This is a terrifying start but, in a competition so even that any team can win or lose on their day, it doesn’t get much easier. Remember “Winning is Habit-Forming”. If we can take a solid start we can build our own momentum.


But, how do you define success? Clearly winning the Premiership trumps everything else, but for me, my priorities are:

  • Winning the GF on Saturday, 26 September;
  • Beating Geelong and Richmond in the Finals;
  • Beating Geelong – Round 18;
  • Beating Carlton – Round 9; and
  • Beating Essendon – Rounds 6 (Anzac Day) and 20.


What are your priorities for a successful season?


And who are your picks for 2020? Mine:

  • GF? Collingwood versus Geelong.
  • Premiership? Collingwood.
  • Norm Smith medal – Treloar.


  • Copeland Trophy – Treloar.


  • Mark of the Year – Howe (of course).
  • Goal of the Year – De Goey.


Heart-starters / Marsh Series:

  • Sunday, 1 March. Richmond vs Pies; Wangaratta.
  • Sunday, 8 March. Pies vs St Kilda; Morwell.


Anyone going? Would love some ‘ground reporting’.




‘The Club’. I’m really pleased to see all six Pies’ teams (AFL, AFLW, VFL, VFLW, VWFL and Netball) routinely accessible and addressed on the Pies’ website. I tried to include all of them a couple of years back but simply ran out of time doing the necessary homework. Well done, Pies. Brief comments in passing:


AFLW. I’ve managed to catch a few of their games. They are playing fantastic footy typified by great commitment, really good close-in ball transition and good general footy skills. I hope the guys are watching? What else? Oh yes, the umpiring of their games has been awful.


2020 Club Kick-Off. Go to the Holden Centre on Friday 13 March where the AFL team will kick-off the 2020 season with an open training session just one week out from our round one clash against the Bulldogs.


Eddie Watch. Have you noticed Eddie’s boys growing up over the years, week by week? And did you like Eddie’s “blood in the streets” comment following the idea that Richmond might pursue Darcy? Good stuff.


Footy Almanac. Keep a watch on Footy Almanac at Further advice to come on a Canberra-based FA lunch before the Giants’ game. See you there.



Go Pies





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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.



  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Good to have you back Cam! I’m a Bomber supporter but enjoy reading your in-depth and thoughtful reports. Unfortunately, I will miss the Anzac Day clash this year as I will be grooving to the music at JazzFest in New Orleans but the phone will be in constant use updating the scores!

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