Jo Crawford-Wynd is a friend of the Pendlebury family, having coached Scott during his junior basketball days at his hometown of Sale in Victoria’s east. Here she shares her thoughts on the young Pendlebury who would later captain one of the nation’s biggest football clubs in the most significant regular season match.
I coached Scott in basketball until he was 14. After that I followed his career closely and became close family friends.
As a teenager he was always very committed, there was never any question he was going to reach his full potential and be the best he could be.
He was the type of person who put in the preparation, did the practice, was the first to training and the last to leave. He knew what he wanted to do.
There’s two Scott’s. There’s the famous Scott that is the captain of Australia’s biggest football club. If you’re in a large group, he’s quite guarded about what he says, takes the role very seriously and always on duty which can make him seem a bit reserved.
Then there’s the Scott we grew up with in Sale who’s very different, quick-witted, outspoken, happy to share his opinion and learn new things, loves being able to relax and be around family. When you get him in that moment when he’s stepping away from the limelight, he’s very different.
I’ve got two young children who grew up with the Sale Scott, the private Scott, and when my daughter started school, she had to dress up as a famous sport star one day. She came home in hysterics that half the school wore Scott Pendlebury jumpers and asked why they wouldn’t pick someone famous.
When he was 10, we were at a basketball tournament and were a point up. He came to me while running past the sidelines with a minute left on the clock and said ‘if you call a timeout the clock won’t stop’, so he already knew if we called a timeout, we would win.
“We sat in the car together while his mum was driving, and for nearly the entire six hours he would draw a defence and I would make a set-play that would beat it” – Jo Crawford-Wynd on Scott Pendlebury
This is unusual because he already knew the rules when half of the other kids are still trying to work out which end we’re scoring at and which end is defence.
So he’s always been very smart and a lot smarter than people give him credit for – he’s very intelligent.
We drove back from Port Macquarie after being away from the state championships – I coached the team in that era – which was a 12-hour drive, so we did it in two six hour blocks.
During one of those trips, we sat in the car together while his mum was driving us, and for nearly the entire six hours he would draw a defence and I would make a set-play that would beat it.
Then he would make up a different defence and I would make up a set-play to beat it. Then we would switch roles – he did this when he was 14 years old and was that interested in strategy and set plays.
He was that determined to know what to do no matter what the defence or offense did and be step ahead of an opponent.
There are certain parts of leadership that have to be taught and guided and he has a family that did teach him that and were very strong on the whole team ethic. They would never have let him miss a training which he also thought wasn’t acceptable.
He’s always had the family backing behind him, strong coaches and the thing that’s always set him apart is this self-motivation and personal determination. That’s a quality that’s inspirational to people around him because he would never let up, not prepare properly or not push himself to that extra step if he thought it would help.
Before he went to the under 14 state championships, he would set himself a target per day – I can’t remember the number but it might have been around 200 goals a day down at the stadium and wouldn’t leave until he’d shot those 200 goals.
When he first started training at Collingwood, we would speak on the phone and he’d say he had some sort of fitness test and a long distance bike ride and I’d say ‘oh that’s exhausting’ and he’d say ‘no, when you get to the end it’s actually mind over matter and comes down to who wants to push their body the hardest and keep going, so they’re the ones who want to do well’ and that really sums him up.
In that sense, it’s not surprising that he’s become an AFL club captain.