As voted by his peers, Collingwood’s Scott Pendlebury has won his first AFL Players’ Best Captain Award, proudly presented by The Diamond Guys. Magpies vice-captain Taylor Adams penned an exclusive column for aflplayers.com.au giving insight into what makes ‘Pendles’ a universally admired leader.
I can remember watching Scott Pendlebury when I was growing up.
Before I was drafted I supported Geelong but when ‘Pendles’ hit the AFL scene, he had a rapid rise and it was hard not to watch him as a footballer.
Looking from afar, he seemed like a guy who has everything going for him in terms of being a footballer – he was a good ball user, the perfect size for a midfielder and was often talked about as being in the mould of former Saint (and eventual Roo) Nick Dal Santo.
Pendles always seemed to have a level of maturity beyond his years and even looking on as a football fan he appeared to have leadership written all over him.
Before you arrive at a club you almost become a bit intimidated by the best players, especially those at a big club like Collingwood but Pendles removed any of those thoughts before my trade from the Giants to the Magpies had even gone through.
The aura around Pendles as a person is quite different to what some might expect but the biggest thing that stood out to me upon meeting him for the first time was how much of a genuine, caring guy he is.
Pendles is incredibly confident in his own ability as a player but he also treats everyone equally – from our President Eddie McGuire to the newest draftee – everyone is part of the club.
One of the biggest things that stands out about his leadership qualities is that he’s egoless.
He works hard to support and nurture those at our club and he’s an approachable and caring leader.
Sometimes it can be hard to switch off when you’re focussing on footy but Pendles has the greatest balance I’ve seen of knowing when to switch off and have a laugh compared to when things are more serious.
Pendles manages that balance better than anyone else I’ve come across and it’s something I’ve been able to learn from him.
It’s often discussed by commentators how calm Pendles is in high-pressure situations on the field but it is also something that stands out significantly to us as players.
Steele Sidebottom and I often discuss how anytime we need someone to be calm on the ground, we look to Pendles.
When he’s not out there next to us, his absence is felt.
We have so many other great leaders around us but his ability to provide advice and guidance in the heat of the moment is exceptional.
It’s hard to describe what Pendles means to the Collingwood Football Club.
As a group we’re indebted to him for the service he has provided in his 14 years – he always puts the club first without question.
As players we’re so lucky to have someone with his experience leading us each week but I also think the coaches would emulate that by saying they’re lucky to have a leader they can rely on as a conduit between the playing group and coaching staff.
For the fans and the people who love the club but are not inside the four walls, I can only imagine they’re equally as grateful for his service and the high quality football he’s played over the years.
Pendles has led us through some tough times as a club and there are countless examples I could share where his leadership shone through but I think the endless support he has provided to our group is what has been most significant.
He was young when he took over from ‘Maxy’ (former Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell) midway through 2014 but he handled the transition seamlessly.
As a group we’ve had some challenging moments both on and off the field, from periods of not playing finals to ‘Bucks’ (Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley) facing media scrutiny, but Pendles has always found a way to keep the group together and working towards something special.
This week marked a significant milestone for Pendles, becoming the games record holder for the club so it’s fitting this Award is presented now.
I’m not too sure Pendles takes a lot of notice what the media write about him – although it is mostly positive – but for a player of his calibre who has achieved just about everything the game has to offer, I can only imagine he will value the way he’s perceived amongst the AFL fraternity.
Pendles has an ability to connect with people from all walks of life and so it’s no surprise he’s been recognised by his peers.