Which modern AFL superstars are most respected by their peers?
In the lead-up to Round 1, aflplayers.com.au (in conjunction with afl.com.au) will reveal the top 50 players in the game, as voted by the players.
“He’d be first picked in most sides.”
It is the sort of praise you often hear coaches lavish on players from their own club.
But the above was a statement made earlier this year about Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury … by an opposition coach.
North Melbourne’s Brad Scott clearly rates the Magpies midfielder, having worked closely with him in his previous life as a Collingwood assistant coach and more recently having tried to counter him while at the helm of the Kangaroos.
Pendlebury is coming off a season in which he won a fourth Copeland Trophy, elevating him to Pie royalty alongside the likes of Nathan Buckley (6 Copelands), Len Thompson (5) and Bobby Rose (4).
His silky moves, polished ball use, clever vision and ability to kick clutch goals make him ultra damaging, and at 28 he is at the peak of his powers, having averaged 29 disposals a season for the past five years.
But perhaps the final word on Pendlebury should go to his own coach, Buckley. When “Bucks” elevated “Pendles” to the captaincy a couple of seasons ago, he was asked what quality he most admired about his new skipper. He replied: “The desire to improve and be your best, the professionalism that Scott lives day by day is definitely his hallmark.”