Can Collingwood win a premiership with their young list in the next five years? Part Three: Attack

Over the past two days I have dissected the future prospects of the Collingwood Magpies and whether they can win a premiership in the next five years. Starting with their defence, I discovered immense talent in their tall and mid-sized defenders with most of them at a promising young age. The midfield, just the same with a good blend of youth and experience amongst their ranks. Now, the forward line. The position which has teased and alluded Collingwood for years. It has been the common issue of inaccuracy and inconsistency with their tall forwards and small forwards misfiring in key parts of the season. Now, we dive into the next topic of the attack and look at what our forwards have to offer in the coming seasons.

Forwards: Tall

For the past few seasons, like the defence, Collingwood’s forward line has taken a lot of criticism. In the past two seasons, the goals have dried up and the Magpies stocks in their key forwards have come under intense scrutiny. Much of this blame comes on the inconsistent powerhouse Travis Cloke. At his best, he is kicking over 60 goals a season, kicking accurately and taking big pack marks proving he is one of the elite forwards in the AFL. Since the start of 2014, the goals have disappeared and his form has fallen away all together. In glimpses in 2015 we saw the Cloke that Pies fans had come to love when he kicked 7 goals against the Demons and 5 against the Giants. The next few weeks saw him kick 1 in 4 games. The biggest factor which has stopped him from reaching his full potential is his constant mental battle which has caused him to kick inaccurately for years. Seemingly, he kicks the goals from the tough angles, but misses the ones that should be simple for a player of his standard. Collingwood have a lot of faith in Cloke and at his best he can be a vital part of the Magpies attack. He is still 28 and has at best 3-5 good years left in him. Hopefully, in the coming seasons we can start to see Cloke elevate his game once again and prove the doubters wrong.

The other of the key forwards is Ben Reid. The injury prone swingman who can play either end of the ground has been seen as a match winner at best for Collingwood. His speed, good marking ability and very accurate kicking has seen him become a fan favourite over the coming seasons. Even though he only moved forward in 2013, he kicked 22 of his 25 goals in 10 games, including bags of 5, twice kicking 4 and once three. His other bag of three came in round 10 that season when Collingwood were without Travis Cloke. Recently, he has been struck down with chronic calf injuries and has restricted him to 5 games in two seasons. He returned the past week and kicked 4 goals against Carlton, proving he had his goal kicking niche still in his arsenal. At 26, he still has a lot of time left in his career providing he stays fit and strings together a full pre-season to get his career back on track.

Then there is the curious case of Jesse White. Came to Collingwood with a lot of expectation to help out Cloke and Reid work towards a formidable forward line but has failed miserably. He has been very on and off and has the ability to be an imposing figure but has been way off his best in the past two seasons. He may have kicked over 20 in the last two seasons but most of the goals he kicks are set shots from directly in front. White missed key shots against Fremantle and Hawthorn which could have won Collingwood the game earlier in the season. This has frustrated Collingwood fans as his work around the ground has been utterly poor. He has a year left on his contract and you expect it will be do or die for White to make himself someone to take seriously in the Black and White attack.

The younger of the key forwards is Darcy Moore. Moore is the son of Magpies legend Peter Moore and has come to Collingwood with very high expectations. Selected pick number 9 by the Magpies and has shown his ability to play in the forward line, down back and even was used as a bit-part ruckman against Carlton due to his 199 cm frame. He kicked 5 goals in his 3rd game of AFL against the Dogs showing his incredible potential and at this rate could be one for the future. He is seen as a 10-15 year player at Collingwood and is a big part of Collingwood’s future plans for the years to come.

Corey Gault and Brendon Abbott are two young players who are also looking to impose themselves in the coming seasons for the Pies. Gault, who has a lot more to prove after only 4 games in 4 seasons could be on the way out. However he may be given one more season to prove his worth. Abbott is in his first year on the rookie list and will be retained after some impressive VFL form. Not too sure about what he could do at AFL level but time will tell as he recovers from shoulder surgery which has ruled him out of the rest of the 2015 season.

Forwards: Small

Arguably one of Collingwood’s major strengths of the past few seasons have come through their small forwards. Many of Collingwood’s major strengths has been scoring goals with their small players and there are some exciting prospects in Collingwood’s possession. We start off with none other than Jamie Elliot. Elliot, who has been on Collingwood’s list for now four seasons has proven to be a major find by the Collingwood recruitment staff. His pace, kick and leap has been his major strong points in the past few seasons and has managed to kick many goals with dead point accuracy. This is something Collingwood have lacked and his match winning ability has been key to Collingwood’s success. However, he is yet to put together a whole season of consistent footy and you would think going into 2016 he can build on an already strong skills base and take the next step in his performance.

The other player with just as much potential to kick big bags of goals is Alex Fasolo. Fasolo who has been up and down since a fantastic debut season which saw him apart of the 2011 Grand Final side has not been able to put together a consistent season since. In 2013, he suffered from a serious foot injury which saw him out for the whole season. In 2014, he had a move to the back-line which didn’t overly pay off but was moved back to the forward line for 2015. This season was big for him as he was potential trade bait if he didn’t lift his game but after a solid season to date, he is looking destined to finally break out. His kicking has improved along with his ability to crumb and take a nice mark has been shown recently. Once again, consistency is the key for Fasolo but if he can keep up the form he has had of late he can be an integral part in Collingwood’s forward line.

Jarryd Blair is another interesting case. A player who can run through the midfield but his size makes it hard to make as much of an impact as a player like Adams or Greenwood. However, his courage and contested ball is unquestioned. He can kick goals and still manage to win the ball very efficiently. In 2015, he has taken a step back but at his best he can play a part of Collingwood’s best 22 in their forward half. He has kicked 92 goals in 118 games and over 10 in every season since 2011. If he can keep up his goal-kicking form and the goal awareness he possesses in the forward half he could really take the next step in his footballing career. From there he could become the player he has been built up to be since his explosive debut season in 2010 where he was a part of Collingwood’s premiership side.

The younger of the Magpies brigade include Ben Kennedy and Tim Broomhead. Both drafted in the same season have taken different paths since debuting. Kennedy who debuted in 2013 has been in and out of Collingwood’s side since and has never been able to string consistent games together. When he has played, majority has been as the sub but has shown the potential to be a big player for Collingwood despite his size. Another player similar to Blair he can kick goals and run through the midfield. His VFL form has shown he can be a big player but he must take the next step in order to secure a spot in their best 22. Rumours of a move back to South Australia have been speculated but Collingwood see him as part of their future plans and don’t want to lose him. Broomhead, who has exploded on to the scene after debuting in 2014, has shown very strong potential to be a very good player. Broomhead finished 2014 off very strongly kicking numerous goals and winning a lot of the footy and before his shoulder injury in 2015 he was in some solid form. He had locked a spot in Collingwood’s best 22 and was nominated for the rising star against GWS. Another player who could be destined for a big future if his development continues at this rate and the Magpies faithful are hoping for big things from Broomhead.

A player I get very frustrated with when spoken about is Patrick Karnezis. Now, I don’t get frustrated because I think he is a bad player but it is because he just doesn’t get a shot. If you saw my previous article about Nathan Buckley you would understand my frustration as to why this man can’t get a game. It isn’t just me but it is a very high majority of Collingwood fans who think he deserves an opportunity. This season, he has played 4 games which 3 of them he was the sub. Now in those games he didn’t put a foot wrong and was very impressive. Karnezis, smashes the VFL and in my opinion does EVERYTHING warranted to get a shot in the ones. A player with immense potential can run out of the midfield, kick goals and play as a small forward or even as a hit up target. He has height, speed and a good goal-sense which has been highly touted by many but still can’t get a run. It would be sad to see Karnezis de-listed at season’s end as I think he deserves a shot before season’s end or at least another season to prove his worth. Hopefully Patty K gets what he deserves and is signed on for another season at the Pies.

Travis Varcoe, Taylor Adams, Jordan De Goey and Ben Sinclair have all proven to be able to play forward but are better suited in other positions around the ground. Adams and De Goey have played forward roles and due to Collingwood’s already stocked up midfield they usually play on the flanks.


Collingwood’s forward line has talent. In the tall forward category, Cloke, Reid and Moore look like the future trio to go forward but I still think Collingwood need a new key forward to come through. Either through trades or the draft I think someone else is needed. The small forwards look full of talent through Elliott, Fasolo, Blair, Kennedy and Broomhead who look like they will take Collingwood forward into the future. By 2020, Cloke will be 33, Reid will be 31 and Blair will be 30. This makes it that they will probably still be at Collingwood but at what capacity is the question. Reid (on the thought he doesn’t get injured again) will most likely be in the forward line with Cloke a 50/50. Expect Moore, Elliott, Fasolo, Kennedy and Broomhead to play big parts in that future forward line with maybe some new acquisitions along the way. Hopefully Karnezis will get a run and a fair go over the coming seasons as well ;).

Forward 6 – 2015 (Full strength)

HF: Adams Cloke Fasolo

F: Elliott Reid Blair/Moore

Forward 6 – 2020

HF: Broomhead Moore Fasolo/Blair

F: Elliott Reid Kennedy

About Nicholas D'Urbano

17 years of age. Passionate Pies fan. Very opinionated. Aspiring writer

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