Magpie Pendlebury ponders AFL retirement

Oliver Caffrey |

Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury has raised the possibility of retirement at the end of the AFL season.

The Magpies’ games record-holder is entering his 17th season but will lead the club for the ninth straight year.

When asked if it could be his last season as skipper, Pendlebury was upfront about his future.

“It could be my last year as a player, I don’t know, but I’m not really thinking about that,” Pendlebury said on Wednesday.

“I’m thinking about having a good pre-season, which I’ve had, and getting the boys ready for the season.”

His comments are interesting considering the 34-year-old signed a fresh two-year deal last October, taking Pendlebury out to the end of the 2023 season.

The champion midfielder’s 2021 campaign was cut short after fracturing his leg in round 19.

Pendlebury broke his leg again in December but has returned to training as fit as ever.

“It was a little bit frustrating to break the leg mid-December, but fortunately enough I had surgery and within a couple of weeks I was back being able to do most things,” Pendlebury said.

“As weird as it sounds, it was actually like a good broken leg; I got a plate in there and two weeks later it was as good as gold.”

Pendlebury could spend more time in defence than ever after training across half-back during the pre-season.

“I really enjoy playing behind the ball, it’s something I’ve really wanted to do for a long period of time,” he said.

“At my age to learn a new role and put my head down and really school myself up is exciting.”

Collingwood have cut back their leadership group under new coach Craig McRae, with Pendlebury joined by vice-captains Taylor Adams, Darcy Moore and Jeremy Howe.

It will be Moore’s first year as a vice-captain with the star defender out of contract at season’s end.

Fellow free agent Jordan De Goey did not train with the main group on Wednesday after suffering a big hit to the ribs last week.

“He’s a pretty tough boy, so nothing to worry about,” Pendlebury said.

De Goey was welcomed back to the club in January after three months in exile following his October run-in with the law in New York.

“He’s come back in, fitted in really well, he’s trained hard and contributing a lot in our environment,” Pendlebury said.

“I know it was really hard for him being away from the place for so long so it’s been great to welcome him back in.”

Collingwood finished in a record-low 17th position last year, with club legend Nathan Buckley departing as coach mid-season.