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Toovey tons up

Luke Mason  July 12, 2012 4:22 PM

100 games for Toovey Alan Toovey will play his 100th game in round 16 against Geelong.

Alan Toovey has had to work harder than most to reach the 100 game milestone that he celebrates against Geelong this weekend.

Overlooked in two National Drafts and forced to work his way up the ranks via the rookie list, Toovey has been forced to deal with the odd setback or two in his quest to attain and then maintain an AFL career.

Originally from Claremont in the WAFL, the 189cm backman was described by collingwoodfc.com.au as:

“A medium defender with terrific closing speed and tackling ability. Disciplined and coachable player who is a left foot kick. Made his senior debut with Claremont this year showing good form during the WAFL finals. Super impressive at NAB AFL Draft Camp with his speed (2.94sec for 20m) and endurance (14.6 Beep Test) in top bracket.”

His time at the Westpac Centre dates back to the start of the 2005 pre-season when he moved across from Western Australia to train with Collingwood after being overlooked in the National Draft.

Toovey trained alongside Sam Iles and Tom Davidson, who both played senior football for Collingwood at various stages, and Williamstown pair Jackson Barling and Scott Meyer until December 13 when he received the nod from National Recruiting Manager Derek Hine to join the Magpies with the second overall selection in the rookie draft.

Iles was Collingwood’s only selection in the Pre-Season Draft minutes prior, while Davidson, who had been delisted after several knee injuries, was redrafted onto the rookie list. Barling and Meyer never tasted life at the elite level beyond their stint at the old Edwin Flack Oval where AAMI Park now stands.

In his first season at the club, Toovey made solid progress for Williamstown in the VFL, splitting his time between the seniors and the reserves.

His fierce determination to improve saw him promoted to the senior list over the summer and in the blink of an eye he had gone from the VFL reserves to Friday night football when he made his debut against Richmond alongside fellow Sandgropers Brad Dick and Shannon Cox in front of 70,569 fans at the MCG.

Across 99 games, Toovey has kicked only eight goals. Amazingly, three of them came on his debut when he lined up across half forward. He managed a behind with his first kick but soon settled to boot three and help shore up his place in the team for another 10 games.



After the match, Toovey described his emotions to collingwoodfc.com.au's Nick Hulett.

“It was a bloody awesome feeling just getting out there for a start, and then to play a good game and have a win, it was a great feeling.”

Considered a fringe player by many over the next two seasons, Toovey silenced his doubters with a much-improved 2009 campaign that saw him play 24 of a possible 25 senior games including three finals. By the time the second half of the year had arrived, Toovey had quietly established his niche in the team as a dependable and dangerously courageous defender who could shut down the best forwards, big and small.

Toovey’s underrated pace began to catch opponents off guard as he darted down the wings, and the Magpie fans paid the left-footer the ultimate compliment, developing their own ‘Toooooves’ chant that is now his trademark.

Since cementing his place in the side in 2009, the past two and a half years have seen Toovey go from strength to strength in his unassuming but ultra effective style.



Two products of the rookie list celebrate success.

He was one of six Magpies not to miss a game in the 2010 premiership year and played an important role in each final. In laying eleven tackles in the Preliminary Final massacre of Geelong, Toovey set the standard for his teammates in desperation and commitment to the cause.

That commitment was illustrated when Toovey was knocked out cold and damaged his chest and lungs in a collision with Geelong powerhouse Tom Hawkins. Toovey’s bravery was lauded by commentators, fans and coaches, for he refused to take his eyes off the ball no matter what stood in his way.



Toovey goes where angels fear...

Toovey was one of seven players who rose from the rookie list to a premiership with Collingwood in 2010. It hasn’t been an easy journey to 100 senior games, but it’s been well worth it.