Fans Players

‘Joker’ Pendles couldn’t be further from the perception

It’s funny listening to what people say about Scott Pendlebury.

The perception is that he’s a straight shooter, perhaps a bit boring, and clearly, his professionalism is second to none, but he’s actually quite witty and is always looking to play practical jokes.

I genuinely believe the general public would be surprised at how funny he can be.

As someone who has known him since I was a teenager in the Gippsland Power set-up, I know this first-hand.

He plays a lot of little side jokes and is always trying to get the laughs from the boys. Believe it or not, he’s quite sly.

My earliest memories of him are that he was really green from a football perspective, he had that heavy basketball influence but it was more pronounced back then at under-age level. He was just cruising up and down the wing with all the time in the world to dispose of the footy.

The obvious way to describe him is that he was a smooth mover, and he had a fun side to him that really comes out when you get to know him.

Even at 18, he was in a class of his own, and this is meant as a compliment, but he almost looked lazy out there.

As soon as he started playing, you just knew he was going to get drafted, and I know that he went No. 5 in the 2005 draft, but surprisingly there wasn’t that much talk around him in the lead up.

We got Dale Thomas with the second selection knowing that Pendles would slip to five. It’s kind of funny to think that a player who looked as smooth as he did at TAC Cup level wouldn’t get the recognition he deserved, but he’s certainly getting it now.

Along with Ben Reid, Pendles and I are the last few remaining players from when we first arrived at the club.

I got drafted with Reidy in 2006, and Pendles came the year before us.

Having him there made my transition to the AFL system very easy, because it was comforting that he was already at Collingwood for a season.

Truthfully, I didn’t know what I was walking into prior to being drafted because I didn’t really follow AFL that closely.

Pendles was more than happy to have me under his wing for the first year which was much needed. He’s a good person to follow and was a positive influence in my first couple of years, even though I’m older than him!

I think all the boys at the club learn things just from observing his work ethic.

When he gets injured, you see the extra things that he does to get up as quickly as he can which sets the standard for the rest of us to follow. He does the little things that can go unnoticed, and for other guys to realise what it takes is huge.

His one-on-one conversations and the experiences he shares makes him a good leader.

He likes the younger guys to earn the respect first which is a good trait to make sure they’re doing everything possible to progress to an AFL player, and holding them to account.

With the guys he has built the trust with, he’s more than happy to give them a bit of leeway. He will trust that you’ll make the right decision until proven otherwise.

Knowing what it takes to win after claiming the ultimate in 2010 has helped us to communicate with the newer boys so they know what’s required.

Of the few of us that are left from that team, we’re still chasing that dream and he tries to influence the group and explain to everyone what it takes. He’s the ultimate leader by example.

If I could describe Pendles’ leadership legacy in a few words, I’d say it’s simplicity and empowerment. It’s showing the path but allowing the players to walk themselves and letting them know that they don’t have to be the hero who wins the game off their own boot.

Here’s your role, here’s what you need to do, now execute it. He isn’t one to rant and rave, he lights the path and the rest need to follow.

I saw that Scott said on radio this week that football is now second in his life since the birth of his first child.

I’d say that’s questionable. In all honesty, he really hasn’t changed around the club, he’s still one of the early risers who is full of energy at all times. His concentration and focus is heavily on footy when he’s here, and then he goes home and is the best dad he can be. He’s balancing it very well.

I’d like to wrap this love fest up with a few of his idiosyncrasies that he probably doesn’t want me to share, but can’t do anything about it…

Firstly, he is by far the worst joke-teller at the club, if not the whole AFL.

He’ll try and tell a joke and his pitch and delivery is horrendous. He rates himself and thinks he has a good joke at his disposal, but then when he goes to say it it’s terrible. He keeps fronting up and trying again which I commend him for.

Secondly, he rates his ability to taste coffee and then rank it. We always joke that if a coffee isn’t up to the ‘Scott Pendlebury’ rating then he’ll just give it back. He’d call himself a coffee connoisseur, we’d call him a coffee snob.

Seriously, though, 250 games is an incredible achievement and Scott deserves all the praise in the world because he has done it all and it’s actually outrageous how consistent he’s been over a long period of time.