What could have been for the boy named Jack
2009 AFL draftees. Slattery Images
Three years ago, it looked like he could take on the world. Collingwood was revelling that once again, their recruiting manager Derek Hine had found a diamond in the rough.
Better still for the Pies, he was only 21-years old and was already damaging teams.
This particular boy’s name was Jack Anthony.
Drafted as a defender at pick 37 in the 2005 National draft, Anthony made his debut as a forward in 2008 against Richmond in round three.
After recovering from horrific neck injuries incurred in both 2006 and 2007, he kept his spot in the side due to good form.
At the end of the season, he finished with 25 goals.
Then, in 2009, he stepped up a cog.
In 24 games he kicked 50 goals, one of which included the famed free kick against Adelaide, which he slotted straight through to give the Magpies an unlikely path through to the preliminary final.
What was most astounding was his goalkicking accuracy, which sat at a rate of 81%.
These days, that figure is almost unheard of.
Anthony finished the season as Collingwood’s leading goalkicker.
But it’s fair to say that he was never the same after that one semi-final kick.
In the preliminary final, he only picked up seven disposals and no goals in a 72-point Collingwood loss.
In 2010, he only played seven games for five goals.
Due to poor early-season form, he was dropped in favour of Chris Dawes, who was setting the VFL alight.
Of course, Collingwood would go on to win the premiership that year, moving Anthony the outer.
He wanted game time and he wanted to move.
Then came trade week.
Many sides wanted him, including Gold Coast and Carlton.
However Anthony, Collingwood and the interested clubs couldn’t figure out a deal.
Anthony’s contract then expired and he entered the pre-season draft.
Fremantle then suddenly found interest in him and took him with pick six
The relationship didn’t start well. He was rumoured to have demanded a big contract and Fremantle forked out the money.
Then, when pre-season came around, he was well over his previous playing weight.
Again, there were rumours that some of the players and coaching staff weren’t particularly fond of him being at the club and that he thought he could just walk into the club’s besty 22.
This was not to be.
After a slow start in the WAFL, he picked up his form and made his Fremantle debut in round eight against the West Coast Eagles.
He finished with 5 disposals and no goals in a 32-point loss.
He was promptly dropped and only returned in round 19, when Fremantle’s injury situation was so bad that the Dockers almost had to elevate all of their rookies.
After that he played two more games and finished with an average of nine disposals and no goals.
He played less games than he did at Collingwood the previous year.
Given the Magpies’ injury problems in 2011, he may well have even played in a grand final had he stayed in Victoria.
Many people, even some Collingwood fans, were hopeful of a big year in 2012 from Anthony.
So far he has not delivered.
Anthony has played four games and kicked three goals, yet is only averaging seven disposals.
After his four-disposal game against Adelaide, he was dropped.
It may have even been his last AFL game.
Anthony could’ve been anything, yet his attitude has obviously let him down.
Former Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse has compared his walking out to the one of Nick Davis to Sydney, of which he still holds a grudge against.
As a Collingwood supporter, I too hold a grudge against Anthony for leaving.
But right now, I really hope he can get his attitude right and be a key Fremantle player in the future.
It would be a shame to see all that talent go to waste.
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