Scott Pendlebury is set to play his 350th game on the weekend, when Collingwood takes on the Crows at Adelaide Oval on Saturday afternoon.
Becoming the 20th player in VFL/AFL history to reach the milestone, Pendlebury will be joining rare company and some of the game’s greats in the same breath, posing the question:
Where does Scott Pendlebury sit amongst the well-revered Abletts, Franklins, Harveys and Williams of the AFL world?
The 34-year-old’s claim for greatness doesn’t start with Brownlow Medals or excess amounts of premierships, but the word consistent doesn’t even begin to describe the Magpie legend.
Pendlebury’s uncanny ability to perform at a high level for so long has to put him in the conversation for greatest of all time.
So, what is the case for Pendlebury’s GOAT status?
Pendlebury has finished in the top three for the Copeland Trophy (Collingwood best-and-fairest) 13 times out of 16 seasons. There’s only two players who have had more podium finishes: Gary Dempsey (Footscray and North Melbourne – 15) and Kevin Murray (Fitzroy – 14).
Of those 13 podium finishes, the Gippsland Power product has won five Copeland trophies, second to former captain and coach Nathan Buckley (six).
The Collingwood skipper has been named in the Therabody All-Australian 40-man squad 11 times, second to only goal kicking champion Lance Franklin (12 times). Pendlebury was also awarded with six AA jackets as a part of the team.
Pendlebury also played in representative teams, donning the Victorian guernsey in 2008 and 2020 as well as the Australian colours three times.
In 2020, the Collingwood leader was also awarded with the AFLPA’s (Player’s Association) best captain honour.
He has received the second highest amount of Coaches Association Votes across his career, tallying 835 and only behind Gary Ablett Jnr (1009).
In 2013, the no.5 draft pick of 2005 won the AFLCA champion player of the year. He was also the AFLCA best young player in 2007.
‘Pendles’ is the only player to have received over 100 Coaches Association Votes against a single team, dominating Essendon more often than not (111).
In terms of big games, the no.10 has won three Anzac Day Medals (2010, 2011 and 2019), equalling James Hird’s record of most medals.
He was also rewarded with a Norm Smith Medal in 2010, in the Grand Final replay as well as a premiership medal.
Pendlebury is the club’s longest-serving captain (since 2014) and has become Collingwood’s games record holder.
- The Collingwood champion is one of four VFL/AFL players to reach 9000 disposals, averaging 26.06 touches a game. He has joined Robert Harvey, Brent Harvey and Kevin Bartlett.
- Pendlebury is the only player to register more than 600 disposals in eight seasons, beating Joel Selwood, Sam Mitchell and Gary Ablett (all on seven).
- The Pies’ captain also holds the record for most games at the MCG – 218 – and is the only player to have documented 5,000 disposals at one ground (5,686 at the MCG).
- He has only missed 33 games since debuting back in 2006.
- Pendlebury is listed as recording the most handballs in VFL/AFL history with 4,562 at an average of 13.07.
- The second most tackles (1,662) behind only Selwood (1,762).
- He is seventh in most clearances (1,534) with leader Selwood on 1,812.
- Pendlebury is fifth in contested possessions (3,706) and second in uncontested possessions (5,378).
- The 34-year-old is fourth in goal assists (259) and will soon surpass Ablett Jnr (261).
- Ironically, Pendlebury is also the only player to bounce the football on a pigeon and have it return back to him back in 2018.
In case you missed it, Scott Pendlebury bounced the footy on a pigeon 🐦
The bird is okay!
📷: Michael Dodge/Getty pic.twitter.com/XnkyIJi2D7
— AFL (@AFL) July 21, 2018
So how does this stack up against the game’s greats?
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