AFL club’s $7 million mistake
AFL legend Kane Cornes has criticised Collingwood's decision to sign Brodie Grundy to a monster seven-year deal, saying it's too big a risk.
The ruckman has turned his back on free agency to re-sign with the Magpies but Cornes said the contract - which he predicts is worth somewhere around the $7 million range, even though that figure hasn't been made public - is too big an investment for someone who plays a position he says is "overrated".
"Seven years and $7 million for a ruckman who has had a heavy workload and is already banged up, what will he be like at the age of 34?" Cornes said on SEN's The Captain's Run.
"Are ruckmen that influential on the modern game? The best example of this is the 2019 preliminary final between the Giants and Collingwood, a game that Collingwood lost.
"Grundy's numbers in that game were extraordinary. He won 73 hit-outs, 10 clearances, he had 25 disposals and the team clearance numbers, Collingwood won that 54 to 35.
"He was up against a player the Giants plucked out of retirement. Speaking of banged up, that's what Shane Mumford was for the Giants, but they (Collingwood) didn't win. They lost that game despite those extraordinary numbers from Grundy.
"Ruckmen are still, I think, overrated in this game and you're not going to give seven years, seven million (dollars) to a ruckman."
Cornes said ruckmen don't have enough of an impact to single-handedly drive clubs towards premierships, which is what the Pies are desperately seeking, having not won a flag since 2010.
"Good ruckmen don't equate to premierships and that is what Collingwood are chasing," Cornes said.
"It is the wrong call to sign Grundy to a seven-year deal, as much as I love his off-field stuff and the way that he plays his footy, it is the wrong call."
Grundy would have become a free agent at the end of the 2020 season and had been linked to a return to his home state of South Australia but instead committed to Collingwood until the end of 2027.
"Clearly, at this age and point in my career, it was an important decision," Grundy said.
"I took my time to consider all of the things that mean the most to me - my football, my ambitions, my life beyond the game, my family, friends, teammates and the football club - and settled on what I believe is best for all of those relationships, needs and passions."
A two-time Australian and dual Copeland Trophy winner, Grundy has played 132 games for the Magpies since he was drafted at Pick 18 in the 2012 AFL Draft. Grundy has made his mark with his ability to have an impact both at stoppages and around the ground.
In 2019 alone he averaged 21.3 disposals, 42.6 hit-outs and 6.1 clearances per game.
"Brodie is clearly a very, very good footballer who is important to Collingwood's future," Collingwood list manager Ned Guy said.
"Brodie is physical in the way he plays the game. He prepares exceptionally well which explains, in part, his durability.
"He wants to lead, wants to improve, wants to set an example and dominate. He is rarely content with his game.
"We love the fact that he sees so much scope for improvement and is determined to be as good as he can possibly be even though, at 25 years of age, he is already an influential player on the field and, increasingly, in the change room.
"If you look at Brodie's performances, he is on an upswing. It will be fascinating, and a joy, to see Brodie's future unfold."