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Collingwood makes six list changes

Relive the best of Collingwood champion Alan Didak. Enjoy some great moments from the career of Alan Didak, starting with his three goals in a quarter against the Eagles in round 14, 2010, an important goal against Geelong in the 2009 Preliminary Final and his famous smother, snap and shimmy against the Saints in the 2010 Grand Final Replay.
Alan Didak played his final game for Collingwood in Saturday's Elimination Final against Port Adelaide.
Collingwood has made six changes to its senior and rookie lists as it prepares for the upcoming trading period and drafts.

Alan Didak, Darren Jolly, Jordan Russell and Andrew Krakouer have been informed that they will not be offered new contracts, with rookies Ben Richmond and Michael Hartley also to depart.

The curtain on Didak’s distinguished Collingwood career falls after 13 seasons. The mercurial number 4, fondly known as ‘Dids’, played 218 games in black and white and was a prominent figure in a period that saw the Magpies play in five grand finals and claim the premiership in 2010.

A two-time All-Australian (2006/2010) and Copeland Trophy winner (2006), Didak was a fan favourite to the end for his once sublime finishing and forward 50 creativity, something that was unfortunately curtailed by injury in his last seasons. The 30 year-old was seen on only 16 occasions across the 2012/13 campaigns.

Nonetheless, Didak is looking to a future in the game, be it as a player or otherwise.

“I’ve had an incredible time at Collingwood. We won a lot of games, won a premiership and I met some lifelong friends. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for and I know I’m going to miss playing in front of the black and white army. I owe them a lot. But I’m not ready for retirement,” Didak said.

“The ride has another lap or two to go, I hope.”

Collingwood Director of Football, Rodney Eade, who coached against Didak on many occasions, remembers a player who needed very few touches to influence a match. Or decide one.

“Alan was such a threat. If he was in the game you were in trouble but even when he wasn’t you were concerned that he was going to conjure something and spark a reaction. A couple of touches from ‘Dids’ and Collingwood would often rally and rise,” Eade said.

The Westpac Centre was Jolly’s third football home, after time with Melbourne and Sydney, and his acquisition at the end of the 2009 season proved to be an astute one.

The ruckman was central to the premiership success of 2010 and a force the following season, when the Magpies lost the grand final to Geelong. The 31 year-old led the ruck division again in 2012 but played only 12 matches, a number that fell to nine this season as injuries bit.

In all, Jolly played 71 matches for Collingwood and 237 across a 12 year career which also included a premiership with Sydney in 2005.

Krakouer’s return to the game with Collingwood was one of the football stories of the year in 2011 and although a knee reconstruction limited him to 35 appearances in black and white across three seasons the silky forward known as ‘Krak’ left a certain mark.

Not least his Mark of the Year in 2011, a chair-lift smooth ride up and over Adelaide’s Luke Thompson at Etihad Stadium.

Krakouer’s story of redemption took on a different hue when he successfully overcame a serious knee injury and reconstructive surgery on the eve of the 2012 season to play the last games of the campaign and finals. He played eight matches this season, his last for the Magpies being on the Gold Coast this year, round 17.

Russell played nine matches in his one season at the Westpac Centre, having previously played 116 with Carlton. A highly popular figure, the South Australian defender played the first five matches of 2013 but got injured and played just four matches thereafter, the last of them in round 23 against North Melbourne.

Hartley, a NSW scholarship recruit, and Richmond, a former basketballer recruited late last year, did not play senior matches with Collingwood.

Eade said the changes were a reality of professional football life.

“In this game, change is constant and often rapid and it doesn’t discriminate. It comes for everyone at some stage, unfortunately,” Eade said.

“Some of the boys made great contributions, some of them small but in their way they all gave something to Collingwood and we thank them for that.”