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Shocked Darren Jolly to play on, Thomas talking next week: manager

Darren Jolly rucking for the Collingwood reserves late in the season.

Darren Jolly rucking for the Collingwood reserves late in the season. Photo: Mal Fairclough

Darren Jolly's manager Paul Connors says his client has been shocked by his sacking from the club, following the Magpies' surprise loss to Port Adelaide in the Elimination Final. Less than three months after being entrenched as Collingwood's first-choice ruckman, Jolly was one of six Collingwood delistings as the club reacted swiftly to its disappointing finals fade-out.

Jolly, who has won premierships with Collingwood and Sydney in a storied 237-game career, was not part of the 24-point loss to Port, having not played for the Magpies since round 12 after he suffered a knee injury at training. He was not able to reclaim his berth from rookie Brodie Grundy as the 19-year-old made an impressive start to his career.

Collingwood's Dale Thomas lasted minutes in his VFL return this year.

Collingwood's Dale Thomas lasted minutes in his VFL return this year. Photo: Mal Fairclough

"It was a shock and Darren honestly believes, and I couldn’t agree more, that he has a lot to offer still," Connors said. "Round 13 he’s the No.1 ruck, all’s going well, (then) a training mishap when someone slides across his knee.

"He then has to fight his way back ... and the new ruck Brodie Grundy takes his opportunity, but Darren thinks that he’s still got a lot to offer and he thought he did at Collingwood – that he could have acted as a great mentor to (Grundy) and Jarrod Witts. But it’s not to be."

Jolly caused controversy earlier this year when he penned a column for Fairfax Media in which he revealed a poor relationship with Josh Fraser, who was the Magpies ruckman when Jolly was recruited from Sydney for the 2010 season.

Jolly admitted that in his final game playing against Collingwood in 2009 he "questioned (Fraser’s) courage around the ball — among other things". He then claimed that Fraser ignored him for the year that the pair shared at the Magpies.

However, despite reports that the column had upset Fraser’s friends within the Magpies ranks, Connors said it had not led to Jolly’s sacking.

"Darren’s a really strong opinionated person and (he’s come from) this 'Leading Teams' culture ... at the Swans, where you speak your mind and you get better," Connors said.

"Josh is a loved Collingwood man and they obviously didn’t see eye to eye, but Darren’s well respected within the club so there’s not an issue with the players at all.

"I think this is a football decision from Collingwood and that happens.

"... He’s got finals experience, he comes from two great clubs in Collingwood and Sydney, and Melbourne. He’s got a wealth of experience to call on and he thinks he can have an impact."

Connors also handles Collingwood free agent Dale Thomas, and he admitted the gifted midfielder had "a couple of clubs" interested in his services.

Connors confirmed that Carlton, reported to have made a big-money bid, was among the suitors for Thomas, who has played only five games in 2013 because of ankle injuries.

He said Thomas had taken an one-week holiday following the Magpies' shock finals exit against Port Adelaide last weekend and talks about his future would continue on his return. He said Collingwood had also indicated that they wanted to conduct a medical on Thomas.

"There’s a couple of clubs that I think might want to (medical testing) and we’ll look at that next week and that’s the beauty of free agency - you’re allowed to have a look," Connors told SEN.

"... (Carlton) want to talk to him but now that the season’s finished there might be an opportunity to do that. But we’ll wait and see and I’ll meet with Dale and see what he’s got to say."

Connors said he was confident another of his clients Jack Watts would remain at Melbourne after the club’s signing of Paul Roos as coach.

When asked to place a figure on the possibility that Thomas and Watts could be playing alongside each other at the Blues next season, Connors said: "I don’t want to do that but I think Jack Watts will be lining up with Paul Roos next year ...".

27 comments

  • Bucks is the problem not Jolly...what sort of coach puts a player with 6 games under his belt into a final over a player that is a proven finals performer? Pointing the finger at everyone else and getting rid of players of that calibre has made the mess even worse.

    Commenter
    kstar2626
    Date and time
    September 11, 2013, 12:54PM
    • @kstart
      100% agree, Bucks is the one who should be shown the door and he can take his no. 1 fan, Eddie McGuire with him!!!

      Commenter
      Magpie
      Location
      Pyrmont
      Date and time
      September 11, 2013, 1:12PM
    • A good coach would. Jolly during 2013 was by far the laziest Collingwood player. He constantly gave away free kicks & whinged to the umpires.

      Based on his column I also believe him to be a very average bloke.

      No room for players like Jolly in any club in my opinion. He believes he's a lot better than he is.

      Commenter
      Mr Environment
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      September 11, 2013, 1:15PM
    • Collingwood weren't going to win the premiership this year from 6th - so better to look at the big picture and give some vital experience to players who can give us 10 years, rather than players nursing injuries at the very end of their careers. The goal is premierships, not one off wins.

      Commenter
      Cam
      Date and time
      September 11, 2013, 2:09PM
    • What does "penning a column" mean?

      Isn't a pen a swan?

      Commenter
      BeachBoy
      Date and time
      September 11, 2013, 3:33PM
  • Give me a break. If Jolly didn't see the writing on the wall he is deluding himself, he only managed 9 AFL games this season. Let's see if anyone is willing to pick him up if he really wants to play on.

    Commenter
    Matt
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    September 11, 2013, 1:02PM
    • I can understand Connors talking up his client, but anybody that's been paying the slightest bit of attention knows Jolly was cooked ages ago. If Collingwood had any other options they probably would have let him go last year.

      Commenter
      nick
      Date and time
      September 11, 2013, 1:16PM
      • I wonder if you say the same about Dale Thomas or Like Ball when they missed games through injury. Jolly was playing good footy before he was injured...are you guys being paid by Bucks?

        Commenter
        kstar2626
        Date and time
        September 11, 2013, 1:25PM
      • Jolly has been well down for ages. Go and watch the 2011 Grand Final for an example. Thomas is not 31 years old. Luke Ball is still playing good football. Are 'you guys' capable of saying anything objective when it comes to Collingwood?

        Commenter
        nick
        Date and time
        September 11, 2013, 5:34PM
    • This is what happens when you don't have the guts to let blokes like Cloke go. He has sucked up so much of the salary cap that delistings of this nature were inevitable, especially if you have any chance of keeping Daisy.
      Jolly would be a great pick-up for a number of clubs, although I bet he keeps his mouth shut if he gets another gig.

      Commenter
      Corbachov
      Date and time
      September 11, 2013, 2:05PM

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