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Varcoe always makes me smile

Arriving at the Magpies at the end of 2014, Jack Crisp and Travis Varcoe quickly developed a close bond. Ahead of his teammate’s 200th AFL game this weekend, Crisp shares what he loves most about the silky-smooth speedster, in an exclusive column.

There aren’t many better blokes to be around than Travis Varcoe.

First memories of Trav are when he and Levi Greenwood held a press conference during the 2014 off-season to mark our arrival at Collingwood.

I was quiet because I was nervous but Trav was confident and jokingly asked if he could have extra holidays because the Cats had just participated in a finals series — we got an insight into his humour pretty quickly!

We got along well but it was on the following pre-season training camp where we really hit it off.


We were in Queenstown, New Zealand and all the boys broke up into groups during our downtime and headed elsewhere.

Varcs and I were hanging around not knowing what to do so we ended up going to one of those haunted house attractions. It was dark and we were holding onto each other while squealing like school children.

From then on, we were always at each other’s side. It was the best camp ever.

He’s a funny man, Trav, and he’s always telling jokes. We’re similar personalities — both like to tell dad gags and are always up for a laugh. We have the same sense of humour.

I don’t remember crossing paths when we were opponents but I have a photo of us when we were at other clubs. One of us was tackling the other so I sent it to him and said, ‘See mate, we’re meant to be friends’.

We started our careers at the Magpies well and both of us played all 22 games in our first year but he’s had a couple of injuries since then — hamstring troubles and a dislocated elbow.

He’s bought along great experience having played in two premierships with Geelong. When he first got to the club, he made an impact, spoke up and gave his insight. It’s been invaluable for us.

Everyone values what he brings to the team, especially that forward pressure. He works his butt off and it’s awesome to have him around the place.

You can see what he means to the group by the way we all reacted when he kicked three goals in the first quarter against Sydney the other week.

Everyone was getting around him. He had a great game and it was so good to see after he came back from injury a few weeks earlier.

I love playing with him. We’ve played around 60 games together now and always have a chat, a laugh and a smile beforehand. We almost have a little tradition of hugging it out before running onto the field.

We’re different in terms of our routine but we always watch a couple of funny videos and call each other funny names in the rooms pre-game.

Sometimes it seems like Varcs is a bit shy but when we’re together he’s up and about, making jokes and running around like a little kid. He’s full of energy, which always gives me a bit of a spark.

When we first got to the club, we found out that we both love the film Step Brothers so we’d call each other names that Brennan and Dale would call each other in the movie. We still do that now, actually!

Trav is one of those guys who makes you smile every time you see him and he does it just by going about his business.

He does a lot of kickboxing with his partner so you’ll often see him walking around the gym practicing his moves by himself, which is quite funny to see. You’ll be doing weights, look to the side and there’s Trav throwing a few kicks — it always makes me laugh.

I hope I’ve done him justice here because he’s a one-of-a-kind person. Playing 200 games is an awesome achievement — he thoroughly deserves all the accolades that come his way.

I’m glad he’s reached the milestone and even happier I get to run out alongside him.