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Player Review: No. 18 Darren Jolly

Collingwood waved goodbye to its premiership ruckmen after four years at the Westpac Centre.

8:34am  Oct 12, 2013

Collingwood makes six list changes

Collingwood has made six changes to its senior and rookie lists as it prepares for the upcoming trading period and drafts.

1:37pm  Sep 10, 2013

Photos of a Jolly good four years

Recap the moments that mattered in Darren Jolly's four year Collingwood career.

1:02pm  Sep 10, 2013

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200 cm
108 kg
2019 AFL Fantasy Points

Player Bio

At A Glance

Junior Clubs: Lexton/North Ballarat U18/North Ballarat (VFL)
Clubs: Melbourne (2001-04; 48 games, 11 goals)/Sydney Swans (2005-09; 118 games, 59 goals), Collingwood (2010-2011)
Debut: Round 1 2000 v Hawthorn
Recruited from: Sydney Swans
Brownlow Votes: 15


Living proof that ruckmen get better with age. Jolly's career has taken the scenic route, spending time as a second-string ruckman at Melbourne, rising to prominence in Sydney before confirming his status as one of the best ruckmen in the game at Collingwood. Covers the ground well for his size, and is adept at switching to full forward where he causes opposition coaches headaches with his height and overhead prowess. An accurate set shot for goal, Jolly has proven remarkably durable, playing 142 matches in a row between 2005 and 2011. Was hit by injury during 2011 but remains a key to Collingwood's premiership aspirations. Has played in five Grand Finals, the most (along with Ben Johnson and Alan Didak and former Swans teammates Sean Dempster and Adam Schneider) of any player in the competition.

Season by Season

Season by Season

The veteran big man enters 2013 in the final year of a four-year contract. He was effectively managed throughout last season, missing rounds six and seven with Achilles soreness and then rounds 10, 18 and 22 to keep him fresh, and was influential in games including round 20 against the Swans and in the Qualifying Final against Hawthorn. While he will benefit from Quinten Lynch’s recruitment, expect the dual premiership player to be managed again through his 13th season.

Season By Season

Was business as usual in the early going, winning his first pre-season premiership and his share of 68 hitouts in the opening three weeks. Missed his first match since round seven, 2005 in round four but returned on Anzac Day to win 34 hitouts.

Was then sidelined for nine weeks with a knee complaint. Spent a fortnight in Arizona along with Dane Swan, Nathan Brown and Brent Macaffer mid-year to fast track his recovery. Marked his return in round 15 against the Hawks with two goals, but while steady, did not reach the heights of previous seasons.

Played his 200th league game against Essendon in round 19, and nullified Eagles ruck duo Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui after they made a hot start in the qualifying final. Strained his groin in the preliminary final, but bravely soldiered on in the Grand Final loss where he managed 34 hitouts but only nine disposals.

In his first year in the black and white, Jolly became the big-bodied ruckman Collingwood fans had been pining for since the halcyon days of Damien Monkhorst. Began the year slowly, but by mid-year was starting to hit his straps.

Was dominant against West Coast’s Dean Cox in round 14 (20 disposals, four goals and three Brownlow votes) and regularly pushed forward with great success (24.10 for the year). Had 579 hitouts in total, and rose to the fore in the Grand Final replay when he won 35 hitouts, took six crucial marks (including one deep in defence in the shadows of half time) and pushed forward to add his name to the scoreboard.

Ended the season with his second premiership medallion in a near best on ground display, and was 10th in the Copeland Trophy.

Turned in some blinders in his final year in Sydney, none better than his 42 hitout, 19 disposal, three goal performance against Hawthorn in round two at Homebush.

Contributed once more in attack (16.12) and gave Collingwood’s ruck combination of Josh Fraser and Cameron Wood a fierce working over in round 12 when he had 53 hitouts.

As the Swans missed the finals for the first time since 2002, Jolly decided to move his young family back to Victoria during the October trade period. Collingwood and Hawthorn were both keen, with the Magpies winning his services mid-week. They received Jolly in exchange for picks 14 and 46.

Ended the year ranked eighth in the Swans Best and Fairest, again failing to miss a game and returning 40 hitouts in the elimination final win over North Melbourne. Had a day out against Essendon in round eight (20 disposals, three goals, 25 hitouts) and was again handy in attack (15.11 for the year).

Enjoyed a steady season, lifting his total possession count but dropping off in his hitout total for the season (down 147 on 2006). It reflected the move of Peter Everitt to Sydney, meaning Jolly was once again sharing the primary ruck duties.

Had a bigger presence in front of goal, kicking 16 for the year including three against the Bulldogs in round nine. Was outpointed by Collingwood’s Guy Richards in the side’s two meetings late in the year, as the Swans bowed out in the elimination final against the Magpies. Finished seventh in the Sydney Best and Fairest.

Improved markedly, recording a then career-high 605 hitouts over 25 games. Although he wasn’t a high possession winner, Jolly’s influence around the ground continued to grow, highlighted by his 49 hitouts against the Bulldogs in round nine.

Received three Brownlow votes after his 10-disposal, 2-goal, 24-hitout effort against the Power in round 17. Struggled on Grand Final day in Sydney’s loss to West Coast (five disposals, seven hitouts) only 24 hours after his wife gave birth to the couple’s first child.

Freed of his title as ‘Jeff White’s understudy’, Jolly made the No 1 ruck position at Sydney his own. Received a Brownlow vote in his debut match against Hawthorn (three goals, 15 hitouts).

Missed two matches early in the season through suspension but didn’t miss a beat for the rest of the Swans successful campaign. Worked well in tandem with the soon-to-retire Jason Ball, and became a premiership player for the first time (kicking a goal and winning 10 disposals and 12 hitouts).

Started the year quietly in the seniors, and struggled with a knee injury that bit a chunk out of his season. Returned in round 17 but battled for form and missed out on Melbourne’s VFL affiliate Sandringham’s premiership. Requested a trade at the end of the year. He ended up at Sydney in exchange for selection No. 15.

Held his place in the senior side for the majority of the year, playing 19 matches and increasing his yearly hitout tally to 260, up from 100 the previous season.

Began to establish himself as a senior player, playing 18 games including Melbourne’s two finals. Only reached double-figure possessions once, and had to make do with his role as Jeff White’s ruck back up.

Was elevated to the senior list as a replacement for the injured Daniel Breese and debuted for Melbourne in the No 41 guernsey against Adelaide in heavy rain across the border. It took until his third match before he got a kick, and wasn’t sighted after round six.

Played in the VFL for North Ballarat as an understudy to former Essendon ruckman Peter Somerville. Was recruited to Melbourne with selection 31 in the Rookie Draft.

Played for the North Ballarat Rebels U18s in the TAC Cup.


By the numbers

  • 2019 Season Average
    Games Played
    • Kicks
    • Handballs
    • Disposals
    • Marks
    • Hit-Outs
    • Tackles
    • Goals
    • AFL Fantasy

2019 Highlights

Statistics Best Opponent Round
Kicks 0 - -
Handballs 0 - -
Disposals 0 - -
Marks 0 - -
Hit-outs 0 - -
Tackles 0 - -
Goals 0 - -
AFL Fantasy 0 - -

2019 Season Breakdown

Rd Opponent Result K H D M HO FF FA T G B AF
TOTAL W: 0 - L: 0

By the numbers

  • Career Average
    Games Played 237
    • Kicks 5.2
    • Handballs 4.2
    • Disposals 9.4
    • Marks 3.3
    • Hit-Outs 21.0
    • Tackles 2.2
    • Goals 0.5
    • AFL Fantasy 63.6

Career Highlights

Statistics Best Opponent Round
Kicks 15 Essendon Rd 8, 2008
Handballs 13 Adelaide Crows Rd 21, 2010
Disposals 21 St Kilda Rd 19, 2012
Marks 13 West Coast Eagles Rd 14, 2010
Hit-outs 53 Collingwood Rd 12, 2009
Tackles 8 Geelong Cats Rd 8, 2013
Goals 4 West Coast Eagles Rd 14, 2010
AFL Fantasy 153 St Kilda Rd 19, 2012

Career Breakdown

Season Club K H D M HO FF FA T G B AF


Frees For
Frees Against
AFL Fantasy points


AFL Awards

Sydney Premiership Side 

Collingwood Premiership Side

Collingwood Pre-Season Premiership