Following a disappointing finals series after a top-four finish in 2009, Collingwood entered the 2010 decade as one of the teams to beat, boasting high-profile recruits Darren Jolly and Luke Ball.
When the 2012 season of AFL finishes up in about seven weeks from now, you will be hard pressed to find anyone saying it’s been a dull, boring year of footy.
There have been that many twists and turns, it’s been incredible. Before the year started we thought only three teams could win it: Collingwood, Hawthorn and Geelong.
How wrong have we been?
All you could have asked for has happened.
Hawthorn has emerged as a real contender after a shaky start to the year. We have seen the Cats struggle early but are now peaking towards another go at the flag. Sydney has risen from nowhere to sit at the top once more. And Port Adelaide has hit rock bottom, the first club this year to lose their coach.
We have even seen Greater West Sydney win not just one but two games!
Clubs that were once contenders have fallen by the wayside. St Kilda, desperate to make another final series, were pipped at the post by Collingwood. And the Bulldogs, bereft of a key forward after Big Bad Bazza left their kennel last year.
Some teams have improved. Adelaide seem rejuvenated under Sanderson, and Fremantle are learning what defense really means under Lyon.
We have also seen changes off the footy field as well. Fantasy footy has gripped the nation, with over 400,000 people taking part.
NSW as a whole has had to deal with another AFL invasion and for now they are struggling to get a feel for the game. But in time they will see how great it is. The Swans stole the hearts of Sydney, why can’t GWS do it in Blacktown?
Whatever happens from here will just be the icing on the cake. No other year will be able to top this one. Not one team has felt safe. Each week they are hunting for that safety net. Their footy window is in jeopardy.
But no matter what happens on the field, they should be safe in the knowledge that they are part of a great game.