Heritier Lumumba is still happy to be a Pie. Photo: Pat Scala
Heritier Lumumba has not retired from football. He has not resigned from Collingwood, nor has he asked to go to another club. And neither has Dane Swan.
The rumours spread rapidly on Tuesday after a radio report that a senior player had walked out on his club after a dispute with the coach.
Assumptions were that it was Swan. It wasn't.
Lumumba was the player the rumours were swirling around, but he has not retired either.
There was a frank discussion between Lumumba and Nathan Buckley several weeks ago at the nadir of the club's season when Lumumba was also out injured. That discussion prompted Lumumba, who is contracted for next year, to wonder about his future but he soon re-stated his commitment to the club, as the club did to him.
Buckley and Lumumba met againsoon after the season end and any matters that had arisen that had caused Lumumba to reflect on where he stood at the club were resolved.
Lumumba is also close to Magpie president Eddie McGuire and he, too, has spoken with the popular winger in recent times and that relationship remains firm.
The former All-Australian premiership defender was moved to a wing for most of this year and had a solid year for the Magpies, offering runs that broke the lines and long kicking into the forward line.
When the club lost players to injury, he was moved back to defence for periods where – with former captain Nick Maxwell having retired mid season – his experience was important.
Lumumba took time away from the club last year to deal with some personal issues.
Buckley said in the pre-season that out of that period last year he and Lumumba had a much stronger and more open relationship.