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Four greats honoured with Life Membership

Chris Tarrant was one of four players to receive Life Membership of the Collingwood Football Club at Wednesday's AGM.
Condon was regarded by Jock McHale and Bill Strickland as the best footballer they had ever seen.
Four past greats of the Collingwood Football Club were awarded Life Membership at the Magpies’ 2012 AGM on Wednesday night.

Dick Condon, Phil Carman, Josh Fraser and Chris Tarrant were each awarded Life Memberships for their outstanding contribution to the black and white over many years.

The quartet spans different eras of the club’s 121-year history.

Condon was a prominent figure during the Magpies’ earliest years, Carman was a colourful character during his brilliant stint at Victoria Park in the 1970s and Fraser and Tarrant both served brilliantly during the first decade of the 2000s playing in five Grand Finals between them.

Until Wednesday’s AGM, Condon was the only footballer in Collingwood’s history to have played for more than 10 years to have not received Life Membership – a situation the Life Membership sub-committee moved to rectify.

Condon played 194 games for Collingwood between 1894 and 1906, starring in the 1896 VFA premiership.

He captained the club in 1899 and 1900 and was coach in 1905 and 1906.

Tellingly, he was regarded by Jock McHale and Bill Strickland as the best footballer they had ever seen.

He was also one of the game’s greatest troublemakers, having once come to blows with one of his teammates. He was regularly suspended by the club and the league and was at one stage banned for life by the VFL.

After leaving Collingwood he later played a few games for Richmond without a clearance, which is perhaps why in the past he had not been awarded life membership.

In 1935, the Sporting Globe declared the high marking and skilful Magpie “the greatest footballer of the century”, underlining the regard in which the VFL community held him.

Condon’s award was accepted by his great nephew Bob Condon on behalf of the Condon family.

Dick Condon
Born: 19 March 1876
Passed Away: 27 December 1946
Recruited: Collingwood Juniors
Debut: Collingwood v St Kilda Round 10 1894
Last Game: Collingwood v Carlton First Semi Final 1906
Games: 194 (4 Interstate)
Goals: 115
Honours: 1896 Premiership Player, Captain 1899, 1900, Coach 1905, 1906
State of Origin: Victoria 1899, 1900, 1903

Phil Carman may have only spent four years in the black and white jumper, but he remains very much a hero in the eyes of those who watched him in his prime during the 1970s.

In 2012, the Life Membership Sub-Committee decided that all Copeland Trophy winners should be awarded Life Membership, such is the importance of the coveted award.

On Wednesday, Carman was the first of seven such players who have not received Life Membership to be recognised.

A true footballing wizard capable of the most miraculous on-field feats, Carman arrived from SANFL club Norwood and quickly forged a reputation as a star at VFL level.

He booted 142 goals in only 66 games at Collingwood, winning the 1975 Copeland Trophy (the same year in which he led the club’s goal kicking) and was named vice-captain in 1978.

Carman was controversially suspended by the VFL Tribunal on the eve of the 1977 Grand Final which Collingwood drew (and then lost the following week) against North Melbourne.

Despite stints at Essendon and North Melbourne in subsequent years, Carman remains a much-loved figure in Collingwood history.

Phil Carman
Recruited: Norwood
Debut: Collingwood v South Melbourne Round 1 1975
Last Game: Collingwood v North Melbourne Prelim Final 1978
Games: 66
Goals: 142
Honours: Copeland Trophy 1975, Magpie of the Year 1975, Leading Goal Kicker 1975, Vice-Captain 1978
State of Origin: Victoria 1975

It was with much pleasure that Chris Tarrant received his Life Membership of the Collingwood Football Club on Wednesday night.

A favourite son of the Magpie Army during his days as a high-flying key forward between 1998 and 2006, Tarrant returned in 2011 after a four-year sabbatical at Fremantle as a sturdy and dependable full back.

Tarrant’s peak years, 2001-2004, were chockfull of highlights. He regularly wowed the crowds with his Mark of the Year contenders and always had something special kept up his sleeve for Queen’s Birthday matches against Melbourne.

In 2003, he was unstoppable. He took a season-high 219 marks, bagged a career-best 53 goals and was rewarded with a spot in the All-Australian team in the forward pocket.

After his stint at Fremantle, Tarrant returned a different footballer.

Instead of kicking goals, he was stopping them at the other end of the ground. He blanketed several of the best forwards in the game and was one of Collingwood’s best performers in the 2011 finals series, particularly in the Grand Final loss to Geelong.

In all, he played in 196 matches for the club under Tony Shaw, Mick Malthouse and Nathan Buckley, booted 307 goals and represented the Magpies in 13 finals matches.

Chris Tarrant
Recruited: South Mildura/Bendigo U18
Debut: Collingwood v Western Bulldogs, Round Three 1998
Last Game: Collingwood v Sydney, Preliminary Final 2012
Games: 268 games (196 for Collingwood, 72 games for Fremantle
Goals: 367 career goals (307 for Collingwood, 60 for Fremantle)
Numbers: 20 (1998-2006), 2 (2011-2012)
Honours: Collingwood Leading Goal Kicker 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, Anzac Day Medalist 2001, All Australian 2003, R.T Rush Trophy (Runner Up in the Copeland Trophy) 2003, Alex Jesaulenko Medal for winning the AFL Mark of the Year 2003, Jason McCarthy Medal 2006

The final player to receive Life Membership was Josh Fraser.

Dubbed ‘The Great White Hope’ upon his arrival at Victoria Park at the end of 1999, Fraser was blooded in the opening round of the 2000 season and for the next 10 years rarely skipped a beat.

He was one of Collingwood’s finest players in the famous 2002 Grand Final, kicking three goals (including the one that temporarily put the Magpies in front midway through the final quarter) on a day that was not suited to key position players.

Fraser was again at the forefront of the club’s push towards the 2003 Grand Final when he was Collingwood’s best in the 50-point loss to Brisbane.

Several consistent years ensued until injuries began to eat into his later seasons.

He began 2010 in the senior team alongside ruck import Darren Jolly and put Essendon to the sword on ANZAC Day with three goals and 19 possessions.

Sadly, injuries and Jolly’s good form meant that Fraser was absent during the 2010 finals series and as a result missed out on the premiership he deserved.

Fortunately, Fraser managed to play his 200th (and final) game for Collingwood against Hawthorn in round 22. He then left for the new Gold Coast club for whom he provided great leadership in its first two seasons.

Fraser was unable to be in attendance at the AGM but will be formally presented with his Life Membership at a later date.

Josh Fraser
Recruited From: Mansfield/Murray Bushrangers U18
Debut: Collingwood v Hawthorn, Round One 2000
Last Game: Collingwood v Hawthorn, Round 22 2010
Games: 200
Goals: 156
Number: 25
Honours: JF McHale Award (4th in the Copeland Trophy) 2006, Vice Captain 2008
State of Origin: Represented Victoria 2008