Three years ago, it looked like he could take on the world. Collingwood were revelling that once again, recruiting manager Derek Hine had found a diamond in the rough. And better still for the Pies, he was only 21-years old, and was already damaging teams. This particular boy’s name is Jack Anthony.
Drafted as a defender at Pick 37 in the 2005 National draft, he made his debut as a forward in 2008 against Richmond in round three, after recovering from horrific neck injuries from in both 2006 and 2007, and from round thirteen he kept his spot in the side due to good form. In the end, he finished with 25 goals for the season.
Then, in 2009, he stepped up a cog. In 24 games he kicked 50 goals, one of which included the famed free kick against Adelaide, in which he slotted it straight through to give the Magpies an unlikely path through to the Preliminary Final. What was most astounding was his goalkicking accuracy. His accuracy rate was at 81%. These days, that figure is almost unheard of. He finished the season as Collingwood’s leading goalkicker. But it’s fair to say that Jack was never the same after that one semi-final kick.
In the preliminary final, he only picked up 7 disposals and no goals in a 72-point Collingwood loss. In 2010, he only played 7 games for 5 goals and due to poor early form, he was dropped in favour of Chris Dawes, who was setting the VFL alight. Of course, Collingwood would go on to win the Premiership, and Anthony was on the outer. He wanted game time, and he wanted to move.
Then came trade week. Many sides wanted him, including Gold Coast & Carlton. However; Jack, Collingwood and the interested clubs couldn’t figure out a deal. Anthony’s contract then expired and he entered the pre-season draft. Fremantle then suddenly found interest in him and took him a Pick 6.
The relationship didn’t start well. He was rumoured to have demanded a big contract and Fremantle forked out the money. Then, when pre-season came around, he was well over his previous playing weight. Again, there were rumours that some of the players and coaching staff weren’t particularly fond of him being at the club, and that they thought he thought he could just walk into the club and a spot in the 22. This was not to be.
After a slow start in the WAFL, he picked up his form and made his Fremantle debut in Round 8 against the West Coast Eagles. He finished with 5 disposals and no goals in a 32 point loss. He was promptly dropped and only returned in Round 19, when Fremantle’s injury situation was so bad that the Dockers at one stage looked like they might have to elevate all of their rookies.
After that he played two more games and finished with an average of 9 disposals and no goals. He played less games than he did at Collingwood the previous year, and with the Magpies’ injury problems in 2011, he may well have even played in a grand final.
Many people, even some Collingwood fans, were hopeful of a big year in 2012 from Anthony. However so far he has not delievered. He has played four games and kicked three goals, yet he only averages 7.5 disposals, and after his 4 disposal game against Adelaide, he was dropped. It may even be the last time he plays a game of AFL football.
Anthony could’ve been anything, yet his attitude has obviously let him down. He left Collingwood thinking he could just walk into any sides first 22. So he came to Fremantle pre-season unfit and look what happened. Former Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse has compared his walking out to the one of Nick Davis to Sydney, of which he still holds a grudge against.
I am a Collingwood supporter, I’m not afraid to admit that, and yes I did hold a grudge against him for leaving. But right now, I really hope he can get his attitude right and be a key Fremantle player in the future. It would be a shame to see all that talent go to waste.