Australian Football

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Key Facts

Full name
Harold Collier

Known as
Harry Collier

Born
1 October 1907

Died
16 August 1994 (aged 86)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 18y 226d
Last game: 32y 244d

Height and weight
Height: 173 cm
Weight: 72 kg

Senior clubs
Collingwood; Camberwell

Jumper numbers
Collingwood: 8, 5, 6, 7, 1

Family links
Albert 'Leeter' Collier (Brother)

Harry Collier

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
CollingwoodV/AFL1926-19402532991.1876%20.615.4418
CamberwellVFA19471250.42
Total1926-1940, 19472653041.15

Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only

AFL: 3,155th player to appear, 250th most games played, 195th most goals kickedCollingwood: 303rd player to appear, 12th most games played, 15th most goals kicked

Fifteen months older than his equally famous brother Albert, Harry Collier did not actually make his league debut with Collingwood until a year later. He played his early football with Ivanhoe in the Sub-District Football League, winning his club's best and fairest award in 1924. He was quick to make up for any lost time when he crossed to league ranks, playing superbly in a losing Grand Final side in his debut season of 1926, and going on to amass what, at the time of his retirement after the 1940 season, was a near club record 254 games.

A brilliant rover with a superb goal sense, some of Harry Collier's best football was played during the 1930s in tandem with his ruckman brother, who despite being only 179cm in height - just 6cm taller than Harry - was considered a 'big man' at the time. With Albert providing vigorous and highly effective physical protection, Harry was frequently able to run riot, most notably of all perhaps in the 1935 VFL Grand Final when his superlative, all action four-quarter performance was a major contributory factor to the Magpies' 20-point defeat of highly favoured South Melbourne.

All told, Harry Collier played in no fewer than six Collingwood premiership teams and was both a dual premiership captain and a dual club best and fairest winner. Hardly surprisingly, he was chosen as first rover in the Magpies' official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'. In 1930, along with Footscray's Alan Hopkins, he lost the Brownlow Medal to Stan Judkins of Richmond on a countback; fifty-nine years later the VFL saw fit to overrule itself and awarded both Hopkins and Collier retrospective Medals.

Almost always an eminently fair if vigorously combative competitor, the most controversial incident in Harry Collier's career occurred in 1938 when, despite a previously unblemished Tribunal record, he incurred an astonishing 14 game suspension for striking Carlton wingman Jack Carney. Just as controversial and astonishing as the length of the penalty was the fact that the initial report on the striking incident was lodged, not by any of the four umpires officiating at the match, but by the Carlton Football Club. In the view of some, the whole affair ultimately cost Collingwood the 1938 flag, for with Collier's suspension still in force the Magpies narrowly lost the Grand Final by 15 points, a margin they might well have reduced or overcome with their tenacious little rover in the line-up.

And Collingwood's opponent in that Grand Final? None other than Carlton. Small wonder there is so little love lost between the two clubs!

Midway through the 1947 season, Collier replaced Marcus Boyall as coach of VFA club Camberwell. "I was happy to help out," he later recalled, "but I was not particularly interested in the job"¹. Perhaps his lack of interest was one reason for the significant dip in form that saw the team slump to a mid table finish after getting to within 8 points of a premiership the previous year. Collier even donned the boots himself during the year, playing a total of 12 games in the unfamiliar red, white and blue colours, but to no avail.

Author - John Devaney

Footnotes

  1. The VFA: A History Of The Victorian Football Association 1877-1995 by Marc Fiddian, page 141.

Sources

Full Points Footy Publications

Footnotes

* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.