Collingwood’s American ruck-forward Mason Cox has declared he is “100 per cent planning to play next year” in an article on AthletesVoice.
Given Collingwood finished second last and only won six games, their season can be considered a failure, when analysing it from a win, loss perspective.
Despite that, they did blood the most debutants of any team in the competition, with nine players making their debut in season 2021.
It was clear that the Magpies were going down a rebuilding path in season 2021, as they traded out arguably three of their better players prior to season 2021. Those players were Tom Phillips to the Hawks, Adam Treloar to the Bulldogs and Jaidyn Stephenson to the Kangaroos. All of the trades to the Magpies were draft picks and not players from opposition teams, which clearly shows their intention to rebuild.
During Nathan Buckley’s tenure at Collingwood in season 2021, he coached the opening 13 games of the season. Of those 13 games, Collingwood won four and lost nine, losing by at least four goals in five of those nine losses, but not losing a game by more than five goals.
Robert Harvey took over as coach following the bye in Round 14. His record as interim coach of the Magpies was two wins and seven losses from nine games, losing the final two games by 85 and 38 points respectively.
To be eligible, it’s essential that each player selected featured in at least five games in season 2021. Despite the fact that there is plenty of work to do, the Magpies still had some good players in season 2021 so find out who was selected as the five players they could least afford to lose plus an honourable mention.
Darcy Cameron was a revelation for the Magpies in season 2021 with the highest average contested marks of any Magpies player with an average of 2.22 contested marks on average, in the 18 games that he featured in. He was a part of the Collingwood team in five out of six of their wins in season 2021.
He averaged the third most goals of any Magpies player with an average of 1.22 goals per game. Above all else he was an important part of the Magpies structure playing predominantly up forward and partly as a second ruckman, to give Brodie Grundy a rest.
5 – Brodie Grundy
He had an okay season 2021. His stats read well, but his impact on the game needs to improve in order to substantiates he warranted such a lucrative contract. In the 20 games that he featured in he averaged the most hitouts of any player in the competition with an average of 32.40 hitouts per game.
He averaged the third most centre clearances of any player on average with an average of 1.35 centre clearances per game. Remarkably, he averaged the second most tackles of any Magpies player with an average of 4.20 tackles per game.
Along with that, he averaged the second most contested possession of any Magpies player with an average of 10.90 contested possessions per game.
4 – Taylor Adams
He played well featuring in 14 of the Magpies 22 games in season 2021. He averaged the most disposals of any Magpies player with an average of 27.29 disposals per game. He only amassed under 20 disposals on one occasion, that was in Round 4 against the GWS Giants, due to being hampered by a knee injury, where he only accumulated 12 disposals.
He also averaged the most contested possessions on average of any Magpies player, with an average of 13.57 contested possessions on average. Along with that he averaged the most inside 50s and tackles of any Magpies player, which showed that he was willing to work hard when attacking and defending.
He had an average of 4.50 tackles per game and average of 5.64 tackles per game. In season 2021, he proved what a quality player he is a pivotal part of the Magpies midfield as he had more than double the amount of centre clearances of any Magpies player on average with an average of 3.93 centre clearances per game.
3 – Darcy Moore
He only played 13 games for the season due to injury. Of the six games that the Magpies were victorious in during season 2021, he was a part of the team on four occasions. He averaged the most intercepts of any Magpies player on average with an average of 7.62 intercepts per game, which was the 11th highest average of any player in the AFL.
He had the second highest disposal efficiency percentage of any Magpies player on average with an average of exactly 86 per cent disposal efficiency on average, which indicates he used the ball well. He also had the second most contested marks of any Magpies player with an average of 1.92 contested marks per game.
2 – Jack Crisp
He averaged the second most disposals of any Magpies player in season 2021 with an average of exactly 27 disposals per game, slightly below the average disposals of midfielder Taylor Adams. There’s no doubt that Collingwood benefited from Crisp featuring in every game.
He is such a consistent performer; it almost a given he’ll be named in the best players. He had the second highest inside 50s on average with an average of 4.41 inside 50s per game, once again only behind Taylor Adam’s average.
The fact that Crisp averaged the second most intercepts per game in season 2021 with an average of 6.18 intercepts per game, only behind Brayden Maynard on average.
1 – Brayden Maynard
He played a number of roles for the Magpies, as he was forced to do due to injury and lack of personnel in certain positions.
He was the Magpies Mr fix it. Being forced to play as a makeshift tall defender wouldn’t have been easy for him, but he did a more than admirable job, in the absence of Darcy Moore through injury from Round 15 onwards. The game that was indicative of Brayden Maynard’s value to the team was Round 4 when he was moved onto Toby Greene who kicked five goals on his other opponent, but was kept goalless by Maynard.
He averaged exactly 21 disposals and featured in all 22 games, amassing at least 11 disposals per game and accumulating 20 disposals or more on 11 of 22 occasions, which equates to half the games the Magpies played in season 2021. He had the most intercepts of any Magpies player on average, as he averaged 7.62 intercepts per game on average.