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Pendlebury as Collingwood captain?

By Kim Hagdorn
8 January 2013 05:23PM EST

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TIMING could be right for a change of captain at Collingwood with ace midfielder Scott Pendlebury the prime contender to take over as on-field leader.

Pendlebury, 24, appears to have all the required ingredients to be a highly competent skipper as the Pies continue to evolve into a new era under club playing great and developing senior coach Nathan Buckley.

Pendlebury is articulate and charismatic to suit the necessary current day requirements for marketability to retain a club’s proven image as well as the poise and grace on the field to capably lead the Pies into AFL battle.

A change of Magpies guard at the top of the playing troops would necessitate 2010 premiership skipper Nick Maxwell to step aside, or being asked to move on by Buckley and his advisors.

There is clearly no distinct indication from the Magpies camp that a captaincy change is in the pipeline as Buckley heads into his second season firmly lays platform for the next premiership combination.

Maxwell, 29, is well into the twilight phase of his accomplished 179-game career and more than likely embarking on his final season or at best with two more years at the unforgiving AFL.

Pendlebury also has few, if any, rivals when captaincy material is considered among the current Magpies senior playing list.

Possibly Heath Shaw, at 27 and with 153 games under his belt could be considered a potential skipper with his heartfelt and ruthlessly determined playing manner could be considered, along with tough nut defender Harry O’Brien.

Shaw’s spattering of off-field indiscretion at various times over his time as a high profile Magpie could well count against his senior leadership capacity.

Any choice of O’Brien ahead of Pendlebury would be a considerable surprise if any genuine change in captaincy is on the cards around the Westpac Centre.

A line would also highly likely have been ruled through Brownlow medallist and perennial match-winning midfielder Dane Swan, who at 28 and with his 196 senior games under his belt along with distinctly too many indiscretions that have incurred club-imposed sanctions would be out of the running.

The likes of ruck force Darren Jolly, at 31, Luke Ball, 28, Alan Didak, 29 and Ben Johnson, 31, will all probably loom as somewhat too close to the end of careers in comparison to Pendlebury who is in his match-winning and potential leadership prime.

Powerhouse forward Travis Cloke, even though young enough at 25, probably wouldn’t attract and genuine consideration as club captain.

What the big scoring force offers best of all is just playing top football and Cloke is still probably somewhat in debt with his teammates after a wayward season by standards in 2012 when he spent the entire year completely distracted in unsavoury contract dispute with Pies management.

Pendlebury also has no really apparent rival in the Magpies younger brigade, while reigning fairest-and-best winning Dayne Beams, at just 22 and Steele Sidebottom only 21, will be alongside Pendlebury for the better part of a possible decade of sustained finals and potential Magpies premiership glory.

Possibly the highly popular Dale Thomas, with all of his undoubted marketing characteristics and stunning match-winning talents, could be an only serious challenger to Pendlebury in any leadership change considerations at the Pies.

It all still points to a timely leadership switch in the Pies nest and Pendlebury primed for a smooth and bloodless takeover at Buckley’s initiation.

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