Vale Presti

Like other Floreat Picans,  I felt genuinely saddened and moved when I heard the news of Presti’s retirement, and the consequent death of the dream of him playing in a premiership.

He has been unique in this generation of players and while supporters of many other clubs reckoned that he was overrated, no-one at Collingwood underrated or undervalued him and he had a good record against the best forwards, including two very serviceable games on Jonathan Brown in the losing GFs in 2002-3.  One of the funniest moments of the footy year for me was a call-in segment on radio about the best full-backs of all time.  A bloke rang up and nominated Rod Carter.  The host said “Yes, Rod Carter was Presti before Presti.” Indeed.

Presti’s retirement got me thinking, while sitting on a bus,  about how lucky some blokes are to play in premierships, and how unlucky others are to not do so.  I ended up scribbling together a team (still while on the bus !) of the best players who have played at Collingwood under Malthouse who have not/did not play in a premiership.  I picked the team based on form at Collingwood during the Malthouse era, not on form before that time or after leaving the club.  I have included three (marked with a *) in the team that have not yet, but that hopefully still will, play in a premiership.  It is an interesting exercise to compare this team with the premiership team.  My team is (with the premiership team alongside of it for some comparison) :

B : Clement Presti Lockyer        Johnson N Brown Maxwell
HB : Clarke Wakelin R Shaw       H Shaw Reid O’Brien
C:  O’Bree Buckley Holland Thomas Swan Wellingham
HF:  Medhurst A Rocca Dick*    Macaffer Cloke Didak
F : Molloy Tarrant* L Davis*     Sidebottom Dawes  L Brown

R: Fraser Burns Licuria              Jolly Ball Pendlebury
Inter : Lonie Richardson Anthony J Cloke (yes, it falls away a fair bit here !)  Beams Blair Toovey Goldsack

A few notes :
– Nick Davis, Paul Williams and Mal Michael played in premierships for other clubs and were therefore not considered
– Sav Rocca and Shane Watson had only one year under Mick and were struggling at that stage of their Pies careers so were not selected.
– The “did nots/have nots” team contains four blokes who kicked 50 goals in a season, whereas the premiership team contained only one.

My observations upon conclusion were that the premiership is won by a good team with good structures and that timing is everything in life.

Interested in others’ thoughts – I’m sure that I’ve overlooked some.

Floreat Pica


  1. Phil Dimitriadis says

    I generally agree with the team Steve. Although I’d replace Rhyce Shaw with Rupert Betheras and O’Bree with Shane Woewodin. ’02 WAS Brave ’03 was a shocker…Walker, Lokan, Kinnear, Williams…and to think we were favourites in ’03! How deluded we were.

  2. Im still waiting for the day when i dont get all emotional whenever i see the names Clement and Sav Rocca- now i have to add Presti to that list. :(
    His own choice in pulling out for the GF was such a brave act and will always be remembered . :(

  3. The tears are just drops in the ocean compared with what we Cats feel about the retirement of Max Rooke.

  4. With respect Phantom, Rooke debuted at Geelong in 2002. Presti at Pieland in 1996. I was in prep when he debuted, and he retires as I finish 2nd year university. He’s been the metronome to Collingwood supporter’s lives, a la Glenn McGrath in the cricket, for eons. The fact that he missed a premiership through the most selfless act imaginable makes his retirement even harder to comprehend.

    Nice team, Steve, and I agree with most of it. The only changes are, as Phil mentioned – Rhyce Shaw OUT and Rupert Betheras IN, and for mine, Marty Clarke OUT and Glenn Freeborn IN. Could also mount a case for Steve McKee, too. Those three players would never let you down. We missed them in a big way in 04-05.

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