On the way out: Dale Thomas and Heath Shaw. Photo: Pat Scala
A selfishness had crept into Collingwood which was why the club had acted so aggressively this off-season with changes that had been made to the list and more broadly about the club, club president Eddie McGuire.
"A pervasiveness of selfishness has crept into our club," McGuire told the Copeland Trophy dinner, which was not attended by Dale Thomas and Heath Shaw, who are both poised to leave the club.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said on- and off-field issues had cost the club a chance at success this year.
"We had the necessary talent to contend but this year we beat ourselves. It can't happen again and we are putting everything in place to make sure it doesn't," he said.
"Our player turnover this year has been a much publicised topic of conversation but it highlights a few brutal realities of the game: first, it does not last forever, not for any of our heroes," said Buckley, again in a reference to Alan Didak, Darren Jolly, and soon, Shaw and Thomas.
"The club will always be bigger than the individual - players, coaches, the administrators come and go. The club comes first and we are making strategic decisions with that in mind."
McGuire said: "We won in 2010 by being side by side by doing everything required to win. Side by side means being that always, not while you are being supported but then turning your back when it doesn't suit.
"We know football is lucrative these days ... this club demands the highest standards, attitudes and application. Any form of selfishness will not be tolerated. It is about Collingwood first and only.
"It is not compulsory to play for the Collingwood Football Club, it is now compulsory to play the Collingwood way - selfless, dedicated and side by side.
"Since our demise in this year's finals it has not been a contented place at theWestpac Centre, the burning desire to atone has consumed us. All clubs must face the reality that time comes for all, including favourites and champions, and so we say goodbye to some this year."
Scott Pendlebury won his second Copeland Trophy, with Dane Swan running second and Steele Sidebottom third.
COLLINGWOOD BEST & FAIREST
1 Scott Pendlebury 192
2 Dane Swan 155
3 Steele Sidebottom 133
4 Travis Cloke 108
5 Harry O'Brien 101
6 Brent Macaffer 76
7 Marley Williams 70
8 Heath Shaw 69
9 Nathan Brown 61
10 Jamie Elliott 59
VFL best and fairest
Best first-year player
Leading desire indicators
Best finals player
Magpie Army player of the year