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Those who've worn No. 15

Luke Mason  January 2, 2015 10:00 AM

Season Highlight: Jarrod Witts Watch the best of Jarrod Witts' performance against Carlton on a Sunday night at the MCG in round 15.
Jarrod Witts will wear the No. 15 in season 2015.

Jarrod Witts will wear the No. 15 in season 2015.

As we tick over into 2015, collingwoodfc.com.au takes a look at some of the club’s most famous No. 15s.

Dan Minogue

Collingwood Games: 85
Collingwood Goals: 37

As a miner in Bendigo, Minogue decided to seek a better life after surviving a 20 metre fall down a mine shaft.

He attracted attention playing for California Gully and at Collingwood he soon showed he could play anywhere and was used as a half-back, half-forward or ruckman. With Hughes and Wilson he formed a famous ruck. Minogue had enormous strength and durability and limitless courage.

He played out the 1911 Grand Final after breaking his collarbone in the first minute.

Minogue went to France with the AIF and played in a services team with Richmond great Hughie James. That contact led to him joining the Tigers after he was unhappy with Collingwood’s treatment of his friend Jim Sadler.

He had skippered the Magpies from 1914-16 and had played in losing Grand Final sides in 1911 and 1915.

Captain-coach of Richmond from 1920 to 1925, Minogue, despite his loss of pace after the war he was still the most valuable player at Richmond in the 1920 flag win.

He had missed the semi, which the Tigers lost, but led them magnificently in the Grand final. He was at the helm again in 1921. He captain-coached Hawthorn for one game in 1926 before retiring as a player.

Minogue was a wise, shrewd coach who in later years did the rounds. He coached Hawthorn in 1926-27, Carlton in 1929-34, St Kilda from 1935-37, and finally at Fitzroy from 1940-42.

Minogue wore the No. 15 in 49 of his 85 games for Collingwood in 1912, 1914 and 1915.

Ted Potter

Collingwood Games: 182
Collingwood Goals: 0

Potter was one of the finest defenders of his era as either a centre half-back or full-back.

Originally from Rutherglen he played with Greensborough when he moved to Melbourne to complete his schooling.

In 1963 he started with the Collingwood thirds but within a few weeks was in the senior team.

The red-haired Potter had strength, pace and spring and didn’t concede any easy kicks to his opponent. A rangy player with long arms, Potter was always cool under pressure and had tremendous powers of concentration.

He played in the losing Grand Finals of 1964, 1966 and 1970, and was unfairly remembered for a handball in a pack which popped up into Barry Breen’s hands and enabled him to kick the winning point in the 1966 decider. The truth is that the handball was impeded by an opposition player.

Potter was a superb big game performer and thrived on challenges. He had to contend with opponents like Jesaulenko, Hart and Baldock, but usually held them or broke even and all rated him as one of their hardest opponents.

Potter played for Victoria four times and holds the unusual record of playing the most League games without kicking a goal.

He was inducted into the Collingwood Hall of Fame in 2012.

Potter wore the No. 15 in 91 of his 182 games in Black and White, in 1964 and again between 1966 and 1969.

Bob Heard

Collingwood Games:
106
Collingwood Goals: 110

A lanky ruckman who was recruited from Preston. At the time of his debut he was the second tallest ruckman in the VFL and was said to be Collingwood’s tallest ever. A tap ruckman with a safe pair of hands, he was 19th man in the 1970 Grand Final. Heard managed his share of games despite the presence of Len Thompson and “Jerker” Jenkin, and returned to Preston after his VFL career.

Heard wore the No. 15 in 160 matches for Collingwood and Richmond between 1970 and 1979.

Wes Fellowes

Collingwood Games:
102
Collingwood Goals: 28

The son of Graeme Fellowes, Wes had the build, skills and athleticism to be a fine ruckman.

He enjoyed his best football in the mid-1980s when he polled 10 Brownlow votes in 1985 before winning the E.W. Copeland Trophy the following year.

Recruited from Bulleen-Templestowe, he was the same height as his father managed to play 102 senior games in nine years. Fellowes also figured in four finals, including the win over Carlton in the 1984 Semi-Final.

Fellowes wore the No. 15 in 45 matches for Collingwood in 1981, 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1989.

Leigh Brown

Collingwood Games:
65
Collingwood Goals: 54

One of the most incredible stories of persistence in modern football. Brown, a journeyman at Fremantle and North Melbourne, ended his career a Collingwood hero.

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse saw something in Brown, and offered the 26-year-old a final lifeline after he had been discarded by the Kangaroos.

While many presumed he would serve as defensive back up to Simon Prestigiacomo in the aftermath of Shane Wakelin’s retirement, Brown instead began in the role of a key forward-cum-ruckman.

He played 23 of a possible 25 games in 2009, occasionally frustrating supporters with his inaccuracy in front of goal (kicking 10.17 for the season) but endearing himself with his effort and commitment to the cause.

Brown cut Port Adelaide to pieces in a mid-season twilight fixture, kicking two goals from five scoring shots, winning 18 disposals and laying seven tackles. His finest moment came in the epic Semi-Final win over Adelaide when he kicked a crucial final quarter goal from miles outside 50.
 
After a shaky start in the senior side, Brown was sent back to the VFL where he regained form.

He featured in the best for three straight matches, was recalled to the senior side for the clash with the Western Bulldogs in round 11 and never looked back.

His ability to play a number of roles proved crucial to the side’s structure, illustrated by the fact that he did not feature in a loss for the remainder of the season.

Although suspended for a week on the eve of September, Brown benefited from the rest, kicking two goals in the Qualifying Final against the Bulldogs and memorably running more than 50 metres to gun down Bulldogs running machine Daniel Cross on the Members wing.

Brown’s year was encapsulated by his miracle goal early in the Preliminary Final, belting a wild torpedo deep inside 50 from inside the centre square, only for the ball to bounce over the Geelong defenders’ heads to roll through for Collingwood’s third goal.

While he went scoreless in the two Grand Finals, he left his mark on each, taking a courageous mark running back with the flight in the dying stages of the draw before earning the first kick of the Replay.

Brown’s 2010 season gave rise to the ‘Leigh Brown role’, a position that saw him win 93 hitouts for the season as Darren Jolly’s ruck relief while having 31 scoring shots, laying 78 tackles and averaging 12.21 disposals for the year.

His value increased again in 2011 with the advent of the League’s new substitute rule, as his fitness and durability meant the Magpies again had a ruck back up who could easily spend time at either end of the ground.

Brown kicked a career-high 23 goals in 2011, peaking with four in the wet to defeat the Western Bulldogs in round six, playing an important role in Collingwood’s charge to a second successive Grand Final.

To the surprise of many, he announced his retirement on the eve of the finals series.

He bowed out in the Grand Final loss to Geelong, kicking a second quarter goal and laying a gutsy tackle on star Cat Corey Enright that typified his commitment to the cause.

Brown wore the No. 15 in 65 matches for Collingwood between 2009 and 2011.

Jarrod Witts


Collingwood Games: 27
Collingwood Goals: 13

Jarrod Witts is a rare commodity, possessing the physical dimensions that will provide him the opportunity to develop into a fearsome player should his junior career prove any indication.

He made inroads in 2013 when he debuted early in the season and featured in six seven senior games, as well as showing glimpses of promise as a key forward at times in the VFL.

Witts took huge strides in his third season on the senior list, rucking in 20 of Collingwood’s 22 senior games and ending the year as the team’s first choice at the centre bounces.

At just 21 years of age, Witts increased his hitout average from 10.6 to 18.8, winning as many as 33 against Gold Coast in round 16.

Despite playing just one NAB Challenge match, Witts was chosen to team with Brodie Grundy against Fremantle giant Aaron Sandilands in the first game of the season proper.

He won 11 hitouts and laid three tackles in a hefty 70-point defeat, but absorbed plenty of valuable lessons along the way.

Omitted from the senior line up, Witts won 27 hitouts, 21 disposals and kicked two goals in a VFL practice match against the AIS-AFL Academy at the MCG the following week.

He returned to the senior side against Richmond a fortnight later and did not miss a beat for the remainder of the season. He steadily worked his way into form, kicking two goals against Carlton in round seven and regularly contributing with his tackling, as evidenced on ANZAC Day when he laid seven against the Bombers.

Witts’ season began to gain traction as it hit the halfway mark, when he won a then career-high 20 hitouts to go with his 14 disposals, five tackles and a goal against St Kilda in round 11.

From round 14 onwards, he averaged 24.6 hitouts (compared with his 12.9 from rounds one to 13) and had less than 20 hitouts only once from that point onwards.

It was in round 14 that Witts was flung into the spotlight after an impassioned boundary line plea from coach Nathan Buckley caught the eyes of the football media. The ruckman responded to the spray, winning 25 hitouts and kicking two goals.

“I've got great belief in what he's going to be capable of achieving, (but) I don't think he shares that belief at the moment,” Buckley told the media afterwards.

“We're getting about 85 per cent of what he's capable of right now, and there's gold in that last 15 per cent.”

In the weeks that followed, Witts firmly established himself as Collingwood’s first choice ruckman and played an important role in the win over Port Adelaide in round 19 when he recorded 28 hitouts and five tackles.

Witts has worn the No. 15 in 27 matches for Collingwood in 2013 and 2014.

All player profiles were adapted from the versions that appear on forever.collingwoodfc.com.au.