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A tribute to the milestone men

Luke Mason  July 13, 2017 5:00 PM

Wells gets the crowd to its feet Daniel Wells nails his first major for the club

Saturday’s trip to the Gold Coast marks two significant milestones in the careers of two of Collingwood’s most senior players.

Jarryd Blair, a hero of the 2010 premiership, will become the 91st Magpie to play 150 senior games, while Daniel Wells will run out for the 250th time.

Their paths to their milestones are distinctly different, each with their own set of challenges.

Blair’s springboard into the big time was a place on Collingwood’s rookie list for 2009.

A Morrish Medallist in his final TAC Cup season with Gippsland, the boy from Wonthaggi was given his shot at the big time, becoming the 98th player to be added to the AFL system through the draft process of 2008.

Eighteen months of consistent VFL form under coach Gavin Brown saw Blair eventually granted his opportunity at senior level when the Magpies of 2010 were at their optimum.

Collingwood entered their round 14 meeting with West Coast in third place on the ladder. They would go on to beat the eventual wooden spooners by 83 points and would only lose once more for the remainder of the season.

Blair made the best of his chance that night, collecting 16 disposals and laying five tackles, and missed only nine of the 14 games that followed.

At 174cm, Blair has fought against football convention to become one of Collingwood’s most trusted players.

He has featured in all 11 of the Magpies’ finals during that time, winning the Harry Collier Trophy (Best First Year Player) and the Gavin Brown Award (Desire Indicators) in the process.

Although he has found himself out of the senior side at times this year, Blair’s impact on his teammates and club remains profound.

Few are more deserving of such a milestone.

Jarryd Blair
149 senior games

Debut: Round 14 2010
Honours: Collingwood premiership side 2010; Collingwood pre-season premiership side 2011; Best First Year Player 2010; Gavin Brown Desire Indicator Award 2013; Morrish Medal 2008

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Jarryd Blair arrives at Collingwood's 2010 premiership function.

Daniel Wells, meanwhile, might be a relative newcomer to the Collingwood family, but his football record is vast and storied.

Drafted out of West Australian club Peel Thunder at the age of 17, Wells joined a North Melbourne club still adjusting to life after Wayne Carey and Denis Pagan.

Wells debuted in the opening round of the season, collecting 11 disposals in a Kangaroos win over St Kilda.

In the decade that followed, he would go on to establish himself as one of the preeminent footballers in the competition.

He played 243 games for North Melbourne, collecting two All-Australian squad nominations, two North Melbourne best-and-fairests and represented his country against Ireland on three occasions.

Famously, he kicked the Goal of the Year in 2004, snatching the ball out of a ruck contest and goaling before his feet had hit the ground against Fremantle in 2004.

At the end of 2016, Wells made his way to the Holden Centre as an unrestricted free agent, following a season in which he had collected 12 Brownlow Medal votes.

Though injuries have held him to just six senior games so far, Wells’ influence at Collingwood has been noteworthy.

The team has won four of the six games he has played, a time in which he averaged 18 disposals.

Daniel Wells
249 senior games

Debut: Round 1 2003
Honours: North Melbourne best-and-fairest 2011, 2013; Runner up North Melbourne best-and-fairest 2006; All-Australian nominee 2011, 2013; International Rules Series 2003, 2008, 2013; AFL Rising Star Nomination 2003; AFLPA Best First Year Player Award 2003; AFL Goal of the Year 2004; Archer-Hird Medal 2013

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Daniel Wells joined Collingwood after a stellar career at North Melbourne.