Why Pies should drop De Goey

De Goey may or may not be in the optimum state of mind to perform by Sunday when the Pies host the Giants. But even if he’s fine, the need for a statement to their players, staff and community outweighs the short-term risk of four points. People within the club are jack of dealing with De Go-ings-on, even though they like him.

Scott Pendlebury, for instance, was holidaying on Hamilton Island when he received word of the latest snafu. “Not again,” was the gist of the skipper’s response.

Collingwood were not comfortable when De Goey informed them that he wanted to visit Bali during the bye. The club was worried, knowing that the mere fact of him going was newsworthy and contained risks.

But coach Craig McRae and football boss Graham Wright let him go, judging he is an adult and therefore entitled to make his own decisions. The Pies knew, too, that an unthinking footballer can find trouble in Beaumaris as easily as Bali. One AFL official quipped that De Goey would find strife if he went to the Simpson Desert – and that it would be captured on a mobile phone.

De Goey misread the play terribly when he issued an Instagram statement attacking the media, with the unfortunate hashtag “enough is enough” – the phrase often used decrying violence against women. He had not run this foolish statement past Collingwood, which saw it as yet another poor choice that merely compounded the Bali blunder.

Why hasn’t De Goey learnt from his missteps? That’s a question for he and perhaps the club psychologist, who has been working with the gifted midfielder on his ADHD and spent plenty of time with him since his return from Bali.


In the past, De Goey did not pay a hefty price – he received only a short ban after he broke his hand in a fight and lied about it to the club five years ago. He was still handed a hefty two-year contract in 2018 (negotiated by this columnist’s brother, his then agent), simply because of his match-winning abilities and Collingwood’s position in the premiership window; then, he was just a 21-year-old and everyone hoped that he would learn and grow.

More importantly, there is clearly a need for an intervention from his player peers. Mathew Stokes explained on The Age’s footy podcast how the Cats dealt successfully with Steve Johnson in 2007. Stevie J’s redemption was born of his teammates making him accountable. The imperative of setting standards has been underscored by the ill-timed TikTok blemishes of Isaac Quaynor and Jack Ginnivan.

De Goey must understand, finally, that his actions – his “vast carelessness” (as per the Great Gatsby) – impact on others, and his assembled rap sheet – which spans several years and two continents – means he will be watched more closely than other players. He must accept that smaller incidents, such as Bali, are enlarged by his name and Collingwood’s leviathan media profile.

“It’s never too late to be the person you might have been,” as the novelist George Elliot once put it.

Right until the bye, the penny still hadn’t dropped for Jordan De Goey. Collingwood, which has pulled the contractual lever, should drop him to the twos.

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