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Josh Thomas: 1036 days ago and now

Sam Gastin  June 30, 2017 4:59 PM

Bucks on Pendles, Elliott and the Hawks Watch the raw footage of Nathan Buckley's weekly press conference ahead of Collingwood's round 15 clash against Hawthorn.
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Josh Thomas will on Sunday end a stretch out of the game which has lasted over two years. Picture: AFL Photos.

Is Josh Thomas Collingwood’s forgotten man?

1,036 days have passed since the 25-year-old last pulled on the Black and White stripes.

His absence of course was self-inflicted, but a return to the MCG on Sunday will mark a significant milestone in Thomas’ journey from promising midfielder, to suspension, to a second stint on the Magpies’ rookie list in 2017.

Those unsure on Thomas’ potential only need to look to his second last game in Collingwood colours. The then 22-year-old claimed the fifth Brownlow vote of his 32-game career with a 29-disposal, three-goal performance against the GWS Giants.

What has changed in the time since? Plenty.

What remains the same from his last game to Sunday’s return? The opponent.

See below for just how the football world has changed in the time since Thomas’ last game for Collingwood.

THEN
Collingwood (11th – 11 wins, 10 losses) vs. Hawthorn (2nd – 16 wins, 5 losses)
NOW
Collingwood (13th – 5 wins, 8 losses) vs. Hawthorn (16th – 5 wins, 8 losses)

THEN
B: Jackson Ramsay, Jack Frost, Ben Sinclair
HB: Heritier Lumumba, Lachlan Keeffe, Tom Langdon
C: Alex Fasolo, Scott Pendlebury, Luke Ball
HF: Steele Sidebottom, Corey Gault, Jarryd Blair
F: Tyson Goldsack, Jesse White, Brodie Grundy
Foll: Jarrod Witts, Josh Thomas, Tim Broomhead
Int: Sam Dwyer, Marley Williams, Tony Armstrong, Paul Seedsman (sub)

  • Nine Collingwood players who appeared in Thomas’ last game will play against the Hawks on Sunday.
  • Four others remain on Collingwood’s list.
  • Four play for other AFL teams.
  • Five are no longer in the AFL system.

NOW
B: Jeremy Howe, Lynden Dunn, Tom Langdon
HB: Jack Crisp, Tyson Goldsack, Brayden Maynard
C: Steele Sidebottom, Scott Pendlebury, Tom Phillips
HF: Jordan De Goey, Darcy Moore, Will Hoskin-Elliott
F: Jamie Elliott, Mason Cox, Alex Fasolo
Foll: Brodie Grundy, Taylor Adams, Adam Treloar
Int: Levi Greenwood, Josh Thomas, Tim Broomhead, Jackson Ramsay

  • 11 players will play on Sunday who weren’t on the list when Thomas played his last game.
  • Six were at other AFL clubs.
  • Four were promising junior footballers.
  • One (Mason Cox) had recently made the transition from college basketball to Aussie Rules.

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A Magpie of 2014, Travis Cloke, battles a man who will wear the Black and White on Sunday, Lynden Dunn. Picture: AFL Photos.

THEN
Paul Seedsman started the game in the green substitute vest for the sixth time in his career.
NOW
The sub rule has been out of the game for two seasons. Seedsman now plays for Adelaide.

Who wore the green vest the most? Our history of substitutes.


THEN
Named in the forward pocket, Brodie Grundy was about to play his 22nd AFL game. The 20-year-old was locked in a battle with Jarrod Witts to be Collingwood’s first-choice ruckman.
NOW
Still relatively inexperienced at a total of 75 senior games, Grundy has emerged as one of the best ruckmen in the competition. The South Australian is averaging career highs in disposals (18.5), hit-outs (38) and clearances (4.2) per game in 2017.

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Nathan Buckley and a young Brodie Grundy at training in 2014. Picture: AFL Photos.

THEN
Travis Cloke was Collingwood’s leading goalkicker after 39 majors in 20 home and away games.
NOW
Jamie Elliott leads Collingwood’s goal kicking race in 2017, despite playing just eight of a possible 13 games. Cloke is now a Western Bulldog, after leaving the Holden Centre at the end of the 2016 season.

THEN
Hawthorn were reigning premiers after beating Fremantle by 15 points in the 2013 Grand Final. The premiership was the Hawks’ 11th, after winning it’s most recent in 2008.
NOW
The Hawthorn team of the late 2000s is considered one of the strongest in recent football history. The Hawks went on to win premierships in 2014 and 2015 to become just the fifth VFL/AFL club to win three Grand Finals in a row.

THEN
Scott Pendlebury was a two-time Copeland Trophy winner (2011 and 2013), and was completing his first season as Collingwood captain.
NOW
The upcoming match against Hawthorn is Pendlebury’s 250th AFL game. The captain is now a five-time Best and Fairest, having won the award the past four seasons.



The Copeland Trophy top five of 2016. Photo: SDP Media.

THEN
Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis combined for 64 disposals as Hawthorn comprehensively beat Collingwood. Lewis was awarded three Brownlow votes for a 34-touch game which also included a goal.
NOW
Both midfield stars no longer wear brown and gold. Lewis will line up for Melbourne against Sydney on Friday night, while Mitchell will play for West Coast at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
 
THEN
Andrew Demetriou was entering the last home and away round of his career as AFL CEO. Demetriou announced in March he would resign at the end of the season after 11 years in the role.
NOW
Demetriou’s replacement Gillon McLachlan is in his third season as AFL CEO.

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Andrew Demetriou announces his resignation from the position of AFL CEO in March, 2014. Picture: AFL Media.